The latest immigration directorate instructions (dated July 2011) don't say a court order is necessary in every case, but the UKBA has a duty to protect a child's welfare under law. It looks like UKBA in NY is taking a tougher stance, either in this particular case or in general. Because of the length of time your application has taken, it seems probable that your application was referred to the caseworking section in London and their decision reflects the conclusion reached by the UK unit. It may be that absence of father's particular on a birth certificate and a notorised letter is not enough and a more objective evidence is required. They do state that a custody/residence order by a US court can be taken as conclusive evidence of sole responsibility.Yes i know, but the UKBA has told me that the court sole custody documents must b sent in within 4 days--4 days has come and gone as I cannot afford 2000.00 for the lawyer and court fees. I put all I had into this application process. They have not sent my package back yet so I am waiting to see what they say in the letter. The documentation I provided for my daughter was birth cert showing only me as her mother, notarized letter from father, pics from our trip to England, pics of her single bedroom in England. I have been on this site reading and taking notes for about a year and had seen ppl use notarized letters but unfortunately for me, they said they are not using them as valid proof that the child can be removed from the country anymore.