In recent months DVLA have been refusing to change the body type of Kombi and panel vans to motor caravan and instead re-registering them as “van with side windows” or “window van”. This doesn’t effect the ability to use or insure a Kombi or panel van as a camper, but does bring into question the speed limits for converted campers, see our post on this here.
This change is across the board for all converters and is being challenged by both converters and insurance companies. DVLA may change this policy again so we will add any updates here as we hear more.
As part of our service when we carry out a campervan conversion, we provide all the information and documentation to apply for a change of use from van to motor caravan as required by DVLA. See below their requirements and application process which has recently been updated.
DVLA is required to record vehicle details for road safety and law enforcement. The body type information held on the vehicle record must describe what a vehicle looks like in traffic. This description, as well as other distinguishing features, allows the police and other enforcement agencies to easily identify vehicles.
The body type may not affect the insurance category of the vehicle, or have any effect on speed limits or other legislative requirements. It is only used for establishing vehicle appearance and identification.
It is important to remember that even if the vehicle’s body type is not changed to ‘motor caravan’, the vehicle can still be used for this purpose as long as the keeper is satisfied the converted vehicle meets the required internal features for motor caravans (see below).
DVLA is responsible for making sure the vehicle record is accurate. To change the body type of a vehicle, DVLA has to be satisfied that the vehicle meets their policy for body types. Requests for a body type change to ‘motor caravan’ require that your vehicle has external features that can be recognised as those of a motor caravan. It is the responsibility of the converter or vehicle keeper to make sure that any alterations made to the vehicle do not compromise its safety.
The body type of your vehicle will not be changed unless its exterior looks like a motor caravan in traffic.
Requirements for changing body type to motor caravan
DVLA will only consider changing the body type to motor caravan (motorhome) if the vehicle meets the following three requirements:
- The body type shown on your V5C registration certificate (log book) is one of those shown in the list below
- Motor caravan external permanent features (see below)
- Motor caravan internal features (see below)
Current body type shown on your V5C registration certificate (log book)
DVLA will only consider changing the body type to motor caravan if the body type shown on your V5C registration certificate (log book) is currently one of the following:
- box van
- insulated van
- light goods
- light van
- livestock carrier
- Luton van
- MPV (multi-purpose vehicle)
- panel van
- specially fitted van
- special mobile unit
- van with side windows
If the vehicle’s body type as shown on your V5C (log book) under vehicle details point D.5 is not one of these, do not send in your application as DVLA will not process it.
Motor caravan external permanent features
This list describes the external features which are commonly seen in motor caravans, and it is intended to provide guidance on what DVLA expects to see when considering your application:
- 2 or more windows on at least one side of the main body (this does not include windows on the driver or passenger doors) to provide a reasonable amount of daylight into the living accommodation
- a separate door which provides access to the living accommodation of the vehicle (this excludes the driver and passenger doors); a window on this door counts as a separate window on the main body
- motor caravan-style graphics on both sides of the vehicle
- an awning bar attached to either side of the vehicle
- a high-top roof (this does not include a pop-top elevating roof)
Motor caravan internal features
The interpretation applied to this definition requires internal features for motor caravans as follows:
Seats and a table
These are required to be an integral part of the living accommodation area, and mounted independently of other items.
The table must be capable of being mounted directly to the vehicle floor and / or side wall. The table mounting arrangement must be secured as a permanent feature, (bolted, riveted, screwed or welded), although the table may be detachable.
Permanently secured seating must be available for use at the table. The seats must be secured directly to the vehicle floor and / or side wall. The seats must be secured as a permanent feature (bolted riveted, screwed or welded).
This must be:
- an integral part of the living accommodation area
- either beds or a bed converted from seats (to form a mattress base)
- secured as a permanent feature, with base structures bolted, riveted, screwed or welded to the vehicle floor and / or side wall – unless the sleeping accommodation is provided as a provision over the driver’s cab compartment
Your conversion must have a minimum of a single ring cooking facility or microwave, which shall be secured directly to the vehicle floor or side wall as a permanent feature.
If the cooking facility is fuelled by an on-board gas supply:
- the fuel reservoir must be secured in a storage cupboard or the reservoir secured to the vehicle structure
If the cooking facility is fuelled by gas having a remote fuel supply:
- the fuel supply pipe must be permanently secured to the vehicle structure
Storage facilities must be provided by a cupboard or locker. The facility must be an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation, ie mounted independently of other items, unless incorporated below seat/sleeping accommodation or the cooking facility.
The storage facility must be a permanent feature, (bolted, riveted, screwed or welded). The storage facility must be secured directly to the vehicle floor and / or side wall, unless a storage provision is provided over the driver’s cab compartment.
DVLA will need photographic evidence of the completed conversion.
Evidence needed to support your application
You must include the following evidence to support your application:
- a completed motor caravan conversion checklist
- a V5C showing one of the applicable body types as above
- interior photos of each one of the required features with the bed and table in the use position (see Motor caravan internal features above); the photos must show that there are 2 or more windows providing daylight into the main living accommodation on at least one side of the main body
- exterior photos from the front, both sides and rear with the registration plates clearly visible
- a photo showing the vehicle identification number (VIN) or the chassis number stamped on the plate attached to the original chassis or vehicle bodyshell
On the back of each photo, write a description of what the photo shows, the date and the vehicle registration number.
If you have a new style V5C with multi-coloured numbered blocks on the front cover, fill in section 1.
If you have the older style V5C, fill in section 7.
Make any other changes, if you need to, and send the V5C with the required evidence to:
DVLA will consider all the information provided. Then they will either decide that the body type must stay the same, or allocate an appropriate description based on the changes made to make sure the recorded body type accurately reflects the vehicle’s external appearance in traffic.
Your vehicle may also require a DVLA inspection. DVLA will cover the cost of the inspection, but any costs associated with transporting the vehicle to the inspection will not be reimbursed. If the vehicle cannot be inspected, the application will be refused and no further action will be taken.
You must provide clear evidence that the vehicle you have converted will permanently be a ‘motor caravan’ and it meets the requirements for the internal and external features.