Vehicle Approval UK: This guide clarifies the current regulations for:
- Vehicle Type Approval and Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA).
- Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval (MSVA).
- Voluntary Individual Vehicle Approval procedures.
- COIF Certificate and Accessibility Certificate Testing.
- Dealing with relevant fees, forms, and obtaining replacement certificates.
Most sellable products need some degree of Type Approval or Certificate of Conformity. It shows the items meet the minimum regulatory, technical, and safety requirements.
But, the term ‘Type Approval‘ is not confined to the automotive industry. The regulatory requirements exist for a multitude of diverse merchandise including mobile phones and medical equipment.
Note: In this case, having Type Approval certification means the vehicle meets certain requirements for its class.
Purchasing a vehicle from a manufacturer means it will have approval. The same applies to all vehicles sold by importers. But, there are some types where you would need to apply for vehicle approval, including:
- Vehicles built from scratch (e.g. kit cars).
- Rebuilt vehicles such as those following a major accident.
- Vehicles that have had radical alterations (e.g. a change in engine size).
- Classic vehicles that have had significant reconstruction.
- Vehicles where an individual imported it themselves.
How to get a Vehicle Type Approved
There are different Vehicle Type Approval schemes. The one you use will depend on how many vehicles need approving and whether they are imports.
- Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) is for a single vehicle.
- Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval (MSVA) is for making or importing a single vehicle with 2 or 3 wheels and some small 4 wheelers.
- Mutual Recognition scheme is for importing a vehicle with registration in the EU.
Note: The Pre-Registration Inspection (PRI) is no longer available since August 2015. Only these schemes meet the standards and rule conditions.
Some manufacturers and importers want approval for a type of vehicle instead of a single vehicle. In this case one of the following schemes will apply:
- European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval. ECWVTA is for manufacturers and importers of large volumes of vehicles.
- National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA) scheme. Manufacturers and importers of modest numbers of vehicles will use this service.
- European Community Small Series Type Approval. ECSSTA is for manufacturers and importers of very low numbers of specialist vehicles,
Note: Further information is available at the DVSA or Vehicle Certification Agency.
Vehicle Type Approval Exemptions
Vehicle approval is not needed for certain types of trucks and automobiles including:
- Heavy goods vehicles more than 25 years old (and over 3,500kg maximum weight).
- Light goods vehicles more than 10 years old (3,500kg maximum weight or less).
- Minibus or SUV cars over 10 years old with 8 passenger seats (not including the driver seat).
- Bus, coach, or minibus with 9 or more passenger seats (not including the driver seat) constructed by a single manufacturer before the 29th of July 2010).
- Bus, coach, or minibus with 9 or more passenger seats (not including the driver seat) constructed by different manufacturers of body and chassis before the 29th of July 2010).
- Tracked vehicles which are also called continuous track (e.g. an ex-military tank or agriculture rubber track tractor).
- Vehicles manufactured for use on construction sites only (i.e. mobile cranes, extra-large diggers, and dumpers).
- Vehicles manufactured for use by fire and rescue services, armed services, or vehicles used for maintaining public order (i.e. police water cannon).
The DVLA need proof of vehicle approval for registration unless it is exempt. They will not register such vehicles without proof of approval.
Note: The DVSA will suspend vehicle approval tests for a period up to three (3) months due to the coronavirus outbreak. Tests are available for vehicles deemed critical to the COVID-19 response in the United Kingdom.
ALSO IN THIS SECTION
Individual Vehicle Approval
There are several routes for getting vehicles approved for sales rights in the United Kingdom. But, the Individual Vehicle Approval scheme tends to be less burdensome than others.
The Certificate of Initial Fitness is a Vehicle Approval scheme used for registering Public Service Vehicles. This guide clarifies exactly who can use COIF in the United Kingdom.
Accessibility Certificate Test
Most buses and coaches need Vehicle Approval Accessibility Certification for wheelchair use. The testing refers to wheelchair restraints, spacing, and boarding ramps or board lifts.
Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval
The Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval is for vehicles without ECWVTA. It is a cost effective method of type approval for 2, 3, and most small 4 wheelers.
Voluntary IVA Scheme
This guide explains the process for the Voluntary Individual Vehicle Approval scheme. Voluntary IVA rules differ to those in the Statutory IVA scheme.