How to bypass user approval

I have my permissions for new users set to only people I approve, however I want to register manually certain users without the need to approve.

Or is there maybe a way to set user permissions with code instead, so assign them to a group if I add them in a certain way?

Hi! You can register users manually by using the register function.
You can also approve the user manually , using the Contacts application or you can call the approveByToken() or approveByEmail() functions.