In an effort to discourage bulk booking of Public Enquiry Office (PEO) appointments by those with the intent of selling on appointments at a premium, the UKBA has introduced a £100 booking fee. A booking hotline has been set up which applicants and representatives must call before 3:30pm the next working day after booking the appointment in order to pay the fee. Failure to call and pay the fee before this deadline will result in the appointment being cancelled. An acknowledgement letter confirming the payment is sent five working days later. This must be taken to the PEO appointment.
The £100 fee is a deposit towards the application fee, rather than an additional cost. Therefore, when arriving at the PEO office the full application fee (minus £100) must be paid.
Appointments that were booked before 6 April 2013 are not subject to this booking fee. Equally, where an appointment is secured for a date within five working days, the booking fee does not apply, as the applicant will not be able to show an acknowledgement letter.
It is thus far unclear whether this introduction will have any effect on the availability of appointments.