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Vehicle Approval Certificate UK

The Road Vehicle (Approval) Regulations came into force on the 29th of April in 2009 for the United Kingdom.

Having Vehicle Type Approval confirms its production samples meet or exceed specified performance standards.

Vehicle Approval UK: This guide clarifies the current regulations for:

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:

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.

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:

  1. European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval. ECWVTA is for manufacturers and importers of large volumes of vehicles.
  2. National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA) scheme. Manufacturers and importers of modest numbers of vehicles will use this service.
  3. 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.

Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0300 123 9000

Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA)
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0300 330 5797

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.


Individual Vehicle Approval

IVA Scheme

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.

COIF Certificate

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.

Vehicle Approval Certificate Regulations in United Kingdom