Originally Posted by UglyAmerican
It's true that Meghan is a US citizen, and that as the spouse of a citizen, Harry is eligible for a green card. However, the process of acquiring it is going to present serious practical problems, and would have done so already had they not either lied or received preferential treatment.
Brits, like most other Europeans and a few other nationalities, can be admitted as visitors without any kind of visa under normal circumstances (which is not what's happening currently). However, a key criteria for being a visitor is that they can't intend to settle permanently in the US, or to work there. Immigration agents at the airport question all foreigners about the purpose of the trip, and someone not in possession of a green card or work permit who says "I'm moving here to be with my US-citizen wife and work to support ourselves" won't be allowed in. That's because they can't intend to be both an immigrant and a non-immigrant at the same time, they don't have the proper visa to be an immigrant, and they've just declared themself ineligible for entry as a visitor. I know a Brit who had that exact thing happen to her - she was refused entry and put back on the next plane to the UK. Even if Harry did manage to get in as a tourist, he wouldn't be allowed to work until he adjusted his status to either a marriage-based green card or some other kind of work visa, the latter being not at all realistic unless he's trading on his royal connections.
So maybe they (or just Harry) lied at the airport or border crossing, maybe he entered on whatever diplomatic credentials haven't expired yet (IIRC the 31st was the deadline, but I don't remember where I saw that), or maybe the immigration agent gave them special treatment. Regardless, his next step should be to apply for a green card, because absent significant special treatment, he can't just jet back and forth at will on visitor status while being married to an American and actually living in the US. (That's optimistically assuming the two countries resume nonessential tourist traffic in the near future, which they may not.) Applying for a green card from within the US has a lengthy wait time - a year or more in ordinary times, and God only knows how long under current circumstances with the pandemic. Harry effectively can't leave the US while he's waiting, because he won't be allowed back in for the same reason he wouldn't/shouldn't have been allowed in as a tourist. Assuming, of course, there's no special treatment.
Alternatively, they could have tried to do this through a US consular facility in Canada during their time there, so it's theoretically possible Harry could have already had an immigrant visa in-hand upon arrival in the US. This involves a fair amount of document-chasing and crowded-line-standing, and the couple would have to appear in person at the consulate, so I think it's unlikely that they wouldn't have been spotted and photographed. They've only been there for a few months, which is too short a time frame, and if they left Canada midway through the process, Harry shouldn't have been allowed to enter the US at all. If that's what they did, then they received enormous preferential treatment.
TL;DR: American spousal immigration rules are pretty terrible, and usually mean that a couple in this situation has to spend a year or more apart if the American spouse is determined to live in the US during that time. If Harry and Meghan manage to avoid that, it's reasonable to assume that they're either breaking the rules, being given special treatment, or both.