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What Is the UK's Vehicle Approval?

Vehicle approval is necessary, for example, when the vehicle has been built with a kit or significant modifications have occurred. These are not things an ordinary car buyer will encounter; vehicle approval is a domain for motor enthusiasts or professionals in the motor trade. In this article, we look at the vehicle approval process in detail. If you have an interest in this arena, be sure to read the article in full.

What Is the UK's Vehicle Approval?

When To Apply For Vehicle Approval

Vehicle approval exists to ensure your car, van, bus, motorcycle single vehicle, etc meet the required standards (both from a safety and environmental perspective). Vehicle approval is necessary if you've carried out any of the following:

  • • Built the vehicle
  • • Rebuilt the vehicle
  • • Radically altered the vehicle
  • • Reconstructed a vehicle that's considered a classic
  • • Imported the vehicle

What Types Of Vehicles Need Approval?

In this section, we'll look in detail at the different vehicle types that require vehicle approval and how to go about acquiring it. The process varies as there are many types of vehicles.

Built Vehicles

It includes both kit-built vehicles and kit-converted vehicles. When every single part is supplied as new by the vehicle maker, it is known as a kit-built vehicle. A kit-converted vehicle is where new bits of kit are added to a current vehicle or when older parts are added to a new kit. In a kit-converted vehicle, its appearance will appear different.

Rebuilt Vehicles

Sometimes vehicles become badly damaged through accidents, natural disasters, etc., and are no longer safe to use. Some people buy and repair these vehicles to make them roadworthy. When this occurs, they rebuilt the vehicle.

Vehicles Altered Radically

Vehicles Altered Radically are ones that have changed significantly from their initial specification. But they are not kit converted where parts have been bought from a manufacturer.

Classically Reconstructed Vehicles

These older vehicles have been brought back to their former glory; it will involve using parts from the past (more than 25 years ago). Parts from other manufacturers can be used, but the components must be genuinely from the vehicle's era.

Imported Vehicles

Different countries have requirements that vary from the UK's standards. You must gain vehicle approval to prove that imported vehicles meet the UK's high rigorous standards. If the vehicle is not registered in the European Union, it will need Individual vehicle approval. EU-registered vehicles with a European Certificate of Conformity are sufficient to meet requirements. One exception is for left-handed drives; they need Individual Vehicle Approval.

The Different Types Of Vehicle Approval

The types of vehicle approval can be broken into two categories: (1) approval for mass-produced vehicles or (2) approval for single or small-scale production. We'll discuss these 2 areas below.

Type Approval

A vehicle manufacturer or an authorised dealer can obtain approval for a type of vehicle (since they are made in large quantities by a recognized company). Showing evidence that the kit provider has obtained type approval will aid the vehicle approval process. Without type approval, you will need to gain Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA).

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)

IVA can be used if you are seeking approval for one or a small quantity of vehicles that are in any of these categories:

  • • Cars
  • • Vehicles to carry goods
  • • Coaches and buses
  • • Trailer
  • • Purpose-built vehicles such as those for holding a wheelchair

Before a vehicle can receive an Individual Vehicle Approval inspection, it needs a vehicle identification number (VIN). VIN is stamped on the vehicle's chassis. But if a vehicle is rebuilt or modified, it may become lost. If your vehicle does not have a VIN, you must obtain one from the DVLA.

There are two types of Individual Vehicle Approval inspections: basic and normal. The one you require will depend on your vehicle.

Basic Individual Vehicle Approval

Basic Individual Vehicle Approval (also known as a Basic Single Vehicle Approval (SVA)) involves various tests, including a visual check. It's possible to apply for this type of check if you have a car that'll carry passengers or a small goods vehicle that falls into any of these remits listed below:

  • • Vehicles with a left-hand steering
  • • Personally imported
  • • Kit cars built by amateurs
  • • Vehicles that have been rebuilt
  • • Vehicles that have been produced in tiny numbers
  • • Medical emergency ambulance
  • • Motorised caravans
  • • Funeral vehicles
  • • Armoured civilian vehicles
  • • Vehicles made from registered vehicles' parts

Normal Vehicle Approval Check

Vehicles that don't fall into the basic category must have a normal vehicle approval check. It's more strict compared to basic testing, and a comprehensive assessment is carried out. You can find out more about IVA test on the UK government website here.

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)

Application Process

To start the vehicle approval process, download the application form. Complete the application using the guidelines from the form and send it to the DVSA; their address is listed below:

  • K and R
  • DVLA
  • SA99 1ZZ
  • They will provide a date to test the vehicle. If your vehicle passes, you'll receive an Individual Approval Certificate.

    What Happens After The Vehicle Approval?

    Once you gain vehicle approval, it must be registered. All the vehicles in the above categories follow a similar procedure to registering a new automobile. Registration is important as it provides the identification to verify safety and tax details.

    How To Register Your Vehicle?

    To register a vehicle, you must fill in some forms and send them to DVLA. The forms you'll have to submit depend on your personal circumstance. You can check out which ones you need to submit here.

    In addition, you need to provide the following:

    • Built up vehicle inspection report (which is the form V627/1)
    • Type approval evidence
    • Receipts for the kit(s) purchased (for kit-built vehicles only)
    • Building plans (not required for Radical Altered Vehicle or Classically Reconstructed Vehicles)
    • Evidence to suggest reconditioned parts meet the standards for new parts (for kit-built vehicles only)
    • Log book (V5C) for the original vehicle (for kit converted vehicles and Radical Altered Vehicles)
    • Photos of the vehicle (for kit converted vehicles and Radical Altered Vehicles)

    If you want to find out more about how to register your vehicle, you can read this article.


    The cost of gaining vehicle approval varies depending on the checks required. The type of vehicle also plays a part. For instance, there is a difference in the cost of gaining vehicle approval for cars (category M1) compared to coaches (category M2). The UK government website lists all the involved costs.

    Final Remarks

    We hope this article has given you a greater understanding of the vehicle approval process in the UK. Vehicle approval exists to ensure vehicles meet the required standards. These measures help keep the roads safe for all users, including motorists and pedestrians.