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Should you try and reclassify your campervan with the DVLA?

Contents

DVLA campervan reclassification

If you live in the UK, once you have converted your campervan you may be thinking about getting it officially reclassified with the DVLA as a campervan conversion. This is typically done by registering your vehicle as a ‘motor caravan’ or ‘motorhome’ on your V5C. The benefits of doing this typically used to be lower insurance premiums and potentially cheaper ferry and toll prices.

However, as of 2019, there are new DVLA campervan rules. The change in DVLA requirements to officially reclassify your van as a ‘motorhome’ has made the process incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

Chances of reclassification

Before we dive into how to go about reclassifying your campervan, we want to give you an idea of how likely it is that you’ll be accepted. Throughout 2019 and 2020 we’ve heard of so many people having reclassification to a motorhome refused with the DVLA. We therefore decided to submit a freedom of information request to the DVLA to find out just how many successful applications there have been over the past couple of years.

dvla campervan conversion reclassification requests - how many dvla motorhome refused 2020 and 2019

The results from the freedom of information request were shocking, if not unsurprising. Since May 2019 there has been a significant decrease in the number of campervans approved for reclassification, and by August 2019 almost all applications to the DVLA to reclassify as a motorhome were refused. 

In mid-2019 new DVLA campervan rules were brought into place. As well as requirements for certain internal structures such as a bed, a kitchen and a fixed table, a number of external requirements were introduced. As well as outlining a list of allowed body types for converted vans, they also included a number of vague ‘external features’, some or all of which may be required to reclassify your campervan.

Since these new DVLA rules were brought into place, only a tiny 5% of total applications have been accepted throughout 2019 and 2020. The number of rejected applications has skyrocketed, with over 14,000 refused between August 2019 and December 2020.

big yellow sprinter campervan with beautiful kitchen in lake district

Ringo is a campervan in all but name

DVLA motorhome conversion requirements

The DVLA require that your campervan:

  • Has a certain body type
  • Meets the internal features required
  • Meets the external features required

Body types

The body types the DVLA will consider reclassifying to a ‘motor caravan’ as per their website in August 2020 are:

  • Ambulance
  • Box van
  • Goods
  • Insulated van
  • Light goods
  • Light van
  • Livestock carrier
  • Luton van
  • Minibus
  • MPV (multi-purpose vehicle)
  • Panel van
  • Specially fitted van
  • Special mobile unit
  • Van with side windows

The DVLA has been explicit that they will not even consider reclassification applications from vehicles that do not have a body type in the above list on their current V5C.

Internal features

As per the DVLA website in August 2020, your campervan must contain at least the following components rigidly fixed to the living compartment:

Seats and a table
  • They shall be an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation area, mounted independently of other items
  • A table mounting arrangement shall be secured as a permanent feature, although the table top may be detachable
  • Permanently secured seating must be fixed to the floor or sidewall and available for use at the table
Sleeping accommodation
  • Shall be an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation area
  • Can be either beds, or beds converted from seats
  • Must be secured as a permanent feature, either with the base structure of the vehicle floor or to the side wall, unless the sleeping accommodation is provided over the driver’s cab compartment
Cooking facilities
  • 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
  • Can be a cupboard or locker
  • Form an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation, mounted independently of other items, unless incorporated below the seat, sleeping accommodation or cooker
  • Must be secured permanently to the vehicle floor or side wall except when the storage facility is over the driver’s cab compartment

Despite meeting all of the internal requirements, we can’t reclassify Ringo as a campervan

External features

As well as the internal features that were previously required, as of mid 2019 there are now a number of new DVLA rules for a campervan conversion. Your van must have a certain body type on its existing V5C (full list can be found on DVLA website), and there is now a list of the external features that are required, although the wording from the DVLA is quite ambiguous as to whether some or all of these features are required. In the past year, we have heard many a story from campervan owners who have struggled to get their vehicle reclassified. So what do you need to get your campervan reclassified?

As per the DVLA website in August 2020, 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
  • A high-top roof (this does not include a pop-top elevating roof)

We have copied the exact wording from the DVLA website above, and as you can see for the external features it is incredibly ambiguous as to what is needed for a DVLA campervan reclassification. The initial wording would suggest that if you have one or more features from the external features list, you would be able to have your campervan reclassified.

However, we are aware of many people who have been unable to have their van conversions reclassified despite ticking almost all (or even all!) of the bullet points on the list. ‘Motor caravan-style graphics’ is also an incredibly vague feature to specify, and no additional guidance has been given by the DVLA on this.

should you reclassify your campervan with the dvla

A campervan recently refused DVLA reclassification despite seemingly having all of the external requirements!

How to submit your application to the DVLA

To submit your campervan reclassification to the DVLA, you must submit a completed ‘motor caravan’ conversion checklist and a V5C showing one of the required body types. You will also need to submit photos of your campervan detailing the required internal and external features. These photos should have a description on the back, as well as the date and the registration number of the vehicle. You should also include a photo showing the vehicle identification number (VIN) or the chassis number stamped on the plate attached to the original chassis or vehicle body shell.

For full details on what to include and where to send the information, you can check the DVLA website.

What are the benefits of registering a van as a campervan?

The benefits of reclassifying a campervan used to be that you could access cheaper vehicle insurance, and possibly cheaper ferry fares too. Recently due the new DVLA rules for reclassifying and the difficulty in reclassifying as a campervan, many insurers themselves have had to change what they require for insurance policies. This means there is no price difference in quotes based on classification on the V5C alone. The estimated final cost of your conversion and your driving record (i.e. if you have had any driving penalties or accidents) are much more likely to be the main factors in the cost of your insurance. For more information, read our blog post about insuring your campervan.

Similarly, most ferry companies price their tickets based on the height and length of your vehicle rather than the classification, so it shouldn’t make much, if any, difference to the price of your ticket.

You may hear some people say that there is a higher speed limit on single carriageways and dual carriageways if you’re reclassify as a campervan, however this is only the case if your vehicle is under 3.05 tonnes which most medium to large sized camper vans will not be. Therefore it will make no difference how your van is registered.

should you reclassify your campervan with the dvla driving down a windy road in the lake district

Do I need to register my van as a campervan?

We believe that it is no longer necessary to reclassify your van as a campervan. The new DVLA campervan rules mean that an overwhelming majority of campervans and motorhomes have been refused reclassification in the latter half of 2019 and 2020. We have seen some photographs that have been submitted to the DVLA that seem to tick every box required, yet are still refused reclassification. There is speculation that the DVLA may even have a blanket ban on reclassifying any vehicles that don’t already have a motorhome-style body on their V5C. This may be due to the sheer increase in volume of requests that they have been receiving. Between August 2019 and December 2020 there were over 14,000 applications refused by the DVLA!

As we mentioned above, most insurers will now insure a van based on it looking like a campervan rather than being classed as a campervan on the V5C. For example, Adrian Flux say, “We are able to provide full cover for camper conversions and conversion projects based on almost any vehicle, including cover for vans, coaches and buses in the process of being converted. We can cover professional and amateur conversions of any van or coach.” For more information about insuring your campervan, have a read of our self-build campervan insurance blog post.

The purpose of the body type information on the V5C, according to the DVLA, “must describe what a vehicle actually looks like. This description, in addition to other distinguishing features, enables the police and other enforcement agencies to identify a particular vehicle.” On our V5C, Ringo is described as a ‘yellow panel van’ which perfectly describes how looks from the outside, and could easily be used to identify him.

Ultimately, the difference between reclassifying your van as a campervan or leaving it as is these days is almost nothing, and most areas you would have seen any benefit have adapted to the tightening up of reclassifications to accommodate those who have not been able to. We would recommend making sure to insure your vehicle for its estimated value after having been converted with a policy that covers it and ensuring your external appearance matches that on your V5C, but saving yourself the hassle of going through the DVLA campervan conversion reclassification process!

big yellow sprinter campervan with beautiful kitchen in lake district

Ringo is classified as a ‘yellow panel van’ in our V5C

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122 Responses

  1. Hi,we live on a narrow boat in a secure marina,this is our home address.We are having trouble finding insurance,any ideas?
    Regards
    Carol

  2. Great Article ! B###dy Government. I bet that ambigous list has cost thousands, Tons of man hours, more staples and rubbers than you can believe !
    Oh how silly. Of course Ringo has no moho stickers. ” Hey Im a motorhome people live in me fulltime and so I contain computers, notebooks, cameras, food, drink, etc. and guess what no one will hear ghe window being broken” plus the smaller stickers ” Please smash glass” duh wahat a Department – Van Licensing As####es !

  3. If the DVLA are refusing to do their job, which they are if they routinely refuse campervan registration, take forever to process licences etc they should be investigated and management sacked. They have used Covid 19 as a convenient excuse for inefficiency and lack of activity.They are not fit for purpose.

    1. I have just won my case against the dvla. I took my case to the ICA and they upheld my complaint as to how I had been given the runaround as to what a camper van should look like . Unfortunately dvla staff still don’t actually know what constitutes a camper van. The whole system needs updating with people that actually know there job and can assist guys with there conversations rather than just try to hinder them. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to re submit an application. It will in most cases just get knocked back with absolutely no clarity as to why. The whole thing is a shambles still.

      1. Massive congratulations Steve and thanks for sharing your story! We filed another freedom of information request 4 months ago to see if the approval data has changed at all, but the DVLA still hasn’t provided the data. Hopefully they get there act together soon!

      2. Hi Steve, would you be happy for us to share your contact details with Duncan & Carol? They are looking to import their Land Rover into Portugal and would like to find out more information about how you took your case to the ICA. Best wishes, Charlie & Dale

  4. i”m in the process of applying sofingersg crossed. Cant help notice your yellow van has no graphics which seems to be a simple fix. do you get any realistic responses from these civil servants?

    1. Hi Allan – we didn’t bother with the graphics, because as the graph shows, less than 5% of people are currently getting accepted, and there aren’t really any benefits to getting it reclassified anymore. So we didn’t both trying! We’d recommend not wasting the time applying, and just convert your van the way you want it rather than trying to tick their boxes!

      1. Hi Alan your quote of number of refusals for conversions has increased by one more.
        i have applied twice may do it again to keep dvla staff employed. Mine was a transit minibus with tacho and psv lstatus which has been changed to windowed van
        I agreee it doesnt make much difference to insurance hopefully mots should be ok as its now a private hgv at 4.1t and i went to expense of putting graphics on (quite cheap really) all to no avail.
        The other half said take vinyls back off as we blended in better without them at night.
        Interesting read your blog. Keep up good work. Dave C

        1. Hi, I’ve also got a transit mini bus which I’m converting. I need to notify DVLA to change to a windowed van with 4 seats. Did they change the tax and what class Mot do you now need?
          Great article.

        2. Hi to you all and very interesting reading this site is Particularly David Cummins email as I find myself in a similar situation if anybody could help me it would be so greatly appreciated I have a Transit minibus myself now having taken the seats out the issue Initially is getting an MOT on the vehicle as it weighs in at 4.1 tons is it I wonder a straightforward process to get it categorised as a private HGV as David Cummings did …. further classification as a campervan is starting look unlikely so I asked myself basically is the vehicle sitting outside my house a big pile of spare parts it would’ve been so nice for the salesman some 12 months ago to possibly have informed me of the potential issues obviously it seems the sale came before that

    2. Just got our application accepted. Aswell as ticking and photographing all boxes also sent many build pictures. This may be the difference

  5. This article was spot on!
    We are currently waiting for our decision having ticked every box and indented every bullet point!
    I’ll come back and let you know how we got on!
    On another note : External Vehicle Graphics ( Hilarious)

  6. I recently applied and my nv400 meets all the requirements, and I have put on stripes and compasses massive rear graphic mountain scene etc thinking I wasn’t going to get caught out . First DVLA came back and said they couldn’t change it as it also needed a change of taxation class , but not said to what class. I rang up and they then said I had been refused as my camper didn’t meet external requirements. But wouldn’t say which ones. My panel Van with windows v5 is apparently on the way to me .

    1. It’s madness isn’t it! The DVLA should just make a public statement at this point that they’re not reclassifying any vehicles because that certainly seems to be the case!

  7. A really interesting post with some well thought out points – thanks for taking time to research all of this and share it! Out of interest, I wonder if reclassifying as a camper has any impact on the driving licence required to drive the van? I appreciate licences are based on the weight of the vehicle, amongst other things, but assume your van is able to be driven on a standard B category car licence?

    1. Hey Louisa, Glad to hear you found the post useful! Yes you are correct we can still (just about) drive our van on a category B license, but if it was much heavier we would need to upgrade the suspension and get a category C licence. The weight limit is currently 3500kg but I believe the government are looking to review this due to the uptake in electric vehicles which naturally weigh significantly more due to the massive battery bank. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks for that, that’s what I understood but pleased to have it confirmed. I am so pleased I have stumbled upon your site – really great info! I shall be ordering your book before we embark on our build! Thanks

  8. great article,especially the graphic showing the 5% approval rate stats from your freedom of information request. maybe someone should include that as their exterior graphic in persuit of their reclassification!

    we have never been interested in applying for a change of classification due to the percieved lack of benifits, if you did manage to get through those hoops, but also because we are trying to keep the van in the true windowless stealth style . However the problem here is making sure the insurance company have not got any grounds to refuse any claims as you are still officially on a VC5 as a panel van, but using it as a camper van.

    Just reading you other article , Self-build campervan insurance,and about to contact Ageas(Optima Motorhome) who offer a reasonable policy which includes a genorous full EU cover

    1. Hi Martin, it’s pretty mad isn’t it! We completely agree, nowadays there definitely isn’t any benefit to reclassification, all of the insurance companies, ferries etc have had to change their ways and level the playing field now that it’s neigh on impossible to get reclassified! Definitely important to make sure your insurance company knows what it is on the V5C and how it’s being used! Thanks for letting us know about Ageas, we’ll add them to the list on the insurance blog post 🙂

  9. Great article. Really thorough and informative. I was about to start the reclassification journey because a Ford sales person mentioned that doing so would allow me to have car speed limits applied to my SWB Transit Custom! Only box Ican’t tick is the one about van being a high top! Might wait a bit to see how others get on. Thank you

    1. Glad you found the article useful! I suspect waiting a few months might be a good idea, the DVLA can’t keep rejecting everyone without providing better guidance. Hopefully the situation improves soon 🙂

  10. Most interesting article, thank you for taking the trouble to research and write it. I have almost finished converting my lwb Vivaro to a campervan and having read your article decided not to re register it as a camper van. I will of course inform dvla of the body changes i.e.side and rear windows etc.
    Not sure but does this effect the speed limits? Many Thanks John
    A

    1. Hey John, glad you found the article interesting! I don’t believe it will effect the speed limit unfortunetly. Maybe in a few more moths or perhaps years the DVLA will address the criteria and you’ll be able to reclassify as a campervan 🙂

  11. We want to take our converted campervan permanently to Spain. To have it matriculated there (i.e put on spanish plates) it has to be classified as a motorhome and not a panel van (as it classes as a commercial vehicle). I am tempted to try and get it reclassified but am not holding my breath. Have you come across this before?

    1. Hi Laura, I honestly don’t think it’s worth the hassle, we haven’t heard a single case of someone getting it approved in the past few months. If you read through the other comments on this blog post, there’s a lot of people who have met every criteria, including all of the graphics, and have only been reclassified as ‘van with windows’! I don’t know much about permanently moving a campervan to Spain, but it would be worth speaking with a Spanish lawyer to find a way around it, as unfortunately I think you’ll struggle to get it reclassified!

  12. How does this affect the Mercedes Marco Polo or the VW Transporter campers that are converted by the manufacturer. Both have elevating roofs and no graphics?
    Have DVLA explained why these changes have been necessary, i.e. what purpose do they serve?
    Regards
    Phil

    1. Hi Phil, I’m not sure if manufacturer converted vans perhaps don’t need to meet the requirements in the same way? But either way, it doesn’t really make a difference anymore! Being registered as a “motor caravan” or a “panel van with windows” doesn’t really affect anything anymore. The DVLA have very much made absolutely no comment on the change of requirements, or why they refuse to reclassify people who have met them all. We asked them to comment on this but all they could say was that they were working on updating the advice on their website to make it less ambiguous 🤷🏻‍♀️

  13. Hi all. Sorry for sounding a little thick but our Alphard is going to be converted professionally. So I am guessing that the v5 will not have to be changed from a MPV to a campervan and to just tell the insurance company of the new value and what has been done to the car.

    1. Hi Ian, If your vehicle is brand new and is being converted by a large conversion company they may have the ability to navigate the usual DVLA reclassification process. For example, I believe the VW California is classed as a campervan on the V5C straight from the factory but if you converted a VW transporter retrospectively to a campervan it wouldn’t get approval. Worst case, you should be fine to tell the insurer that the vehicle is a campervan and they will still be able to insure it, this is usually insured as a “campervan in conversion” and won’t require the V5C to be updated. Hope that helps 🙂

  14. Applied to DVLA Twice the van looks as good as the professionals ticked all Dvla boxes. Just had a return as Window van.
    I am wondering I anyone has Requested their Motorcaravan for inspection with DVLA and if they have managed to have it inspected and passed.

    1. Hi Steven, unfortunately the data shows it’s pretty much impossible to get a campervan reclassified these days. Luckily it’s not really required anymore as it doesn’t affect insurance, ferry costs etc.

    2. Requested this and then had a call from DVLA to be informed that they would reclassify our vehicle i had already gone through the complaints procedure twice

  15. My converted van is a van with windows , desperately need it to be a camper on V5 as we want to take it and re register it in Portugal , as Portugal say its a camper van due to having a bed , hob , fridge so refuse to accept it as a van with windows . So annoyed with DVLA .

    1. Hi Sandy, really sorry to hear that, it sounds like a bit of a nightmare! We haven’t heard from anyone in a long time who has successfully managed to have their vehicle reclassified, so it might be worth writing to the Portuguese officials and explaining the situation in the UK with the DVLA. Best of luck!

  16. Great article although i knew most of this as i converted 6 x VW Transporters BEFORE 2019 and all were changed to motor caravan on the log book.
    My question would be, seeing it must be a good 1/2 of all conversions are carried out on VW T5/6, Vauxhall Vivaros and the like which have a pop top roof WHY has the DVLA suddenly taken a dislike to the by excluding them from any chance of a motor caravan status even if everything else is ticked.
    Thanks
    Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff, it’s definitely a bit baffling isn’t it. I’m not sure why the DVLA have changed the requirements so massively, however even those who do meet all the requirements now still aren’t getting reclassification, so it doesn’t really make a difference these days anyway! Ultimately the DVLA just need to come out and say that they’re no longer reclassifying self-builds as ‘motor caravans’ and stop wasting everyone’s time.

  17. How does this affect speed limits?
    If it is not a campervan, does a Transit Custom stay a non car derived vehicle?
    If you cant make it a camper how can you at least get 70mph on it legally?

    1. Hi Matt, as a Transit Custom isn’t a car-derived van, I believe unfortunately the speed limit restrictions would be for that of a goods vehicle, as it’s no longer possible to reclassify as a motor caravan. So the speed limit on a dual carriageway would be 60mph. However, the speed limit for both goods vehicles and motor caravans on the motorway is still 70mph. Hopefully the DVLA will change these requirements as it’s no longer possible to reclassify as a motor caravan.

  18. Hi just to let you know my V5C came back yesterday from dvla for my Vauxhall’s movano maxilow Qube van which. I have converted to a coach built motor home / caravan.
    On the old V5C section D5 it was a Luton van.
    The new one it is classed as a specially fitted van what ever that is ?
    I meet all the requirements as per there conversion sheet
    But they still have not changed to motor caravan and reading the charts above it looks like this is best I am going to get out off them.
    Thanks for your article.

    1. Hi Mick, thanks for sharing! Really interesting to hear, I’ve never heard of someone receiving “specially fitted van” before, but perhaps its because your base vehicle is a Luton rather than a panel van! Another example showing that the DVLA has essentially stopped reclassifying as “motor caravan”

  19. My partner and myself feel less stupid after reading this.

    We bent over backwards to fit the requirements and were rejected twice, both times over the ‘external construct’ of the vehicle.
    We are now scared to contact our insurance company to tell them that not only did it take 5 months for the dvla to reply, but we’ve also been denied. The whole point of our insurance was to be given the freedom and time to convert our own camper, however due to excess decision making time and the rejection, I believe there is no way our insurance company will pay out in the event of an accident.

    Just like the dvla, insurance companies are craft feckers and will sniff out any opportunity to deny your coverage. I believe this would be one.

    Any idea who to renew with next month?

    1. Hi Joe & Charlotte, sorry to hear about you not being able to reclassify your van, however I honestly wouldn’t worry – since the DVLA have stopped reclassifying, insurance companies have had to change their approach. We actually wrote a blog post about this you might find useful: self-build campervan insurance – in there we mention a few companies who don’t require you to be reclassified! Hope that helps

  20. I have followed the DVLA guidelines to the exact requirements but had my application to change from a panel van to a motor caravan refused on the grounds that “The vehicle does not have the permanent external features required”. I asked them what more external changes could I do. They didn’t answer my question but just kept replying that I should look on their website guidelines. After several e-mails I was told “Our guidelines are stated on our website, but even if you meet the guidelines, there is no guarantee the vehicle would be amended to a motorhome. Unless further changes have been made there is nothing further I can do”. How ridiculous. I asked for my photos to be returned but they’ve been destroyed. Disgusting.

  21. Hi. I agree with most of your comments except on a vehicle over 3500kg. Mercedes won’t remove the speed limiter on mine without the motor caravan category on the V5, as a commercial/van it’s limited to 56mph and a camper can travel at 70mph.

    1. It’s only possible to change the speed limit of a vehicle if it is under 3.05 tonnes which most medium to large sized camper vans aren’t. This screenshot is from our book and shows the current speed limits based on the classification and weight of vehicles.

      speed limits of vehicles classified as campervans and vans in the uk

      It therefore makes no difference how your van is registered to speed limits if it is over 3.05 tonnes. It’s also by the by, as it’s no longer possible to reclassify as a campervan, so I imagine they will need to change this rule anyway!

  22. Yes the speed limit for a goods vehicle is 70mph but after 2010 commercial vehicles over 3500kg must be fitted with a speed limiter set to 56mph. To have this removed to allow 70mph Mercedes will not remove unless registered as a camper.

    1. We were referring to vehicle’s less than 3500kg, as this is the weight limit for most vehicles, and over this you will need to take a Cat C test to upgrade your licence unless you got your licence before 1997. Mercedes will have to change this at some point, as it’s no longer possible to re-register as a camper.

  23. Hi, great article I stumbled as I was investigating the possibility of re-registering my vw t4 campervan as a van. With many potential overnight parking spots denying campervan parking, I was thinking, with the addition of some ‘Joe blogs, builder supply’ signwritten panels over the windows and registering the Camper as a commercial van, the overnight parking restrictions might be evaded. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Google search hasn’t come up with anything. Cheers

    1. Hi Julian, haha we’ve definitely had similar thoughts! If you could disguise the windows with a commercial sign and maybe go for flexible solar panels which are less obvious, I’m sure you could get away with some sneaky covert camping! I don’t think you would need to register the van as a commercial van/I don’t think this would be a good idea, as your van should be ensured as a campervan with your insurance company to ensure its fully covered for its value, and this might not be possible if it was registered as a commercial van.

  24. Great interesting read. We’ve just had our Peugeot Boxer conversation changed from panel van to van/windows by DVLA. What’s annoying is that they have given us no reason as to why they would not change the V5 to campervan, so now we don’t know why it failed their expectations. Having read your article, I’ve now calmed down a bit and realize it’s no big deal, to me and the MOT centre, it’s a campervan!

  25. Is it a legal requirement to re register a van conversion and what are the pros and cons of registering them as a ‘Van with Windows’ as the alternative? Great site and Info, Many Thanks.

    1. Hey Tim,

      No, it’s not a legal requirement thankfully. There are essentially no real advantages to getting the V5C changed anymore, the major problem is that thousands of people are wasting their time applying for something they never have a chance of getting approved!

  26. We provided exceptional pictures of a vw crafter all as the above Dvla recommended items to be classed as a motorhome , we spent £14,000 on the professional fit out but got refused by them , apparently it had everything except the only item we did not want on the van which was an awning rail !!!!
    It came back recorded as a van with windows !!
    Pretty sure if you work at Dvla there own van conversions get the nod of approval 🙂

    1. Sorry to hear this Rob. Given the current situation, I suspect even if it had the awning rail they would refuse it. Hope you enjoy the van regardless of classification 🙂

  27. Hi
    We have a van very similar to Ringo. The V5 still states “Panel van”. Do we need to change this to “Van with windows”? Is that how Ringo is classified?
    Great site in so many ways.
    Thanks
    Justin

    1. Hi Justin, glad to hear you’re finding the website useful! Our V5C states “yellow panel van”, we never bothered reclassifying to “van with windows” because the DVLA states that it needs to accurately describe your van’s exterior. We feel that “yellow panel van” is a suitable description of our van, so don’t see the need in reclassifying. As your van is still a panel van (unless you’ve chopped the back of it off and built a wood cabin!) then I can’t see that you need to reclassify as a ‘van with windows’. Hope that helps!

  28. Enjoyed reading your blog. I am a gas engineer and Was thinking of doing a conversion. However was worried about DVLA but after reading all was clear. Thank you for getting this information to us.

    Cheers

    Yilmaz

  29. Can a van with a pop top roof no longer be registered as a motorcaravan ?
    Clearly you would on have a pop top for camping?

    1. Hi Matt, that’s right, the DVLA requires that the vehicle has “a high-top roof (this does not include a pop-top elevating roof)”. Although as you can see from the article, even those with a high top roof aren’t able to get reclassified anymore. Pretty much no one is being reclassified to a motor-caravan anymore, only a van with windows. In the past 18 months, we’ve only heard of one person be successful in reclassifying, and that was with many appeals and unsuccessful applications first. However, it’s no longer necessary to reclassify, as this doesn’t affect insurance, ferry tickets etc. Hope that helps!

      1. We got approved this first, first time of applying and came back no problems, new V5 arrived this week.

    2. Only if it the van came out of the factory with one, an after market top top will no longer meet the requirements

  30. We have this week had our van reclassified. It’s not that much effort to fill in the required paperwork.

    1. That’s great news, Claire. Is there any chance you could describe your conversion to us as we are about to apply too. Thanks.

  31. Hi
    I’ve heard one advantage in reclassifying is with the new clean air zone restrictions that a lot of cities are introducing now.
    Bradford charge £9 a day for vans, but don’t charge motorhomes or campervans

    1. Oooh, this is an interesting point, we’ll do some digging and see if this is the case everywhere or not. We’ve also submitted another freedom of information request to see if the situation has improved at all and if the chances of getting approval have improved or not!

  32. We need to uprate our sprinter van having converted it and now being overweight . We understand that if we get caught overloaded it’s points On our licence and fines. To uprate , you have to have reclassification through DVLA – just spent £850 on graphics which we really didn’t want on . We look like a camper with all the windows , awning etc . Fingers crossed we get it

  33. Hi i have a romahome dimention
    motorhome and have noticed it is still registered as a van. this motor home was converted from new by romahome
    should i re register it.?

    1. How strange! I suspect it should be pretty easy to get it re-registered given that it is an actual motorhome. However, there are limited advantages to re-classifying so unless its causing you issues it might be worth saving your time completing the application 🙂

    2. Got my V5 reclassification today, despite every box ticked, documented, photographed etc. it’s come back as a van with windows.

      I suspected it would tbh, at least it’s no longer a minibus so I’ll de-restrict the 62mph limiter now!

      No difference in tax, MOT or insurance tbh.

    1. Hi George, unfortunately I’m not sure why the DVLA made this change. However, it doesn’t make too much difference anymore as the DVLA aren’t approving people with a high top van either. Luckily it doesn’t affect much anymore, so doesn’t matter if you’re not able to reclassify as a campervan. Thanks!

  34. I have also had this issue and I spent hundreds ticking all the f’in boxes. My problem is that a no claims bonus on a motorcars an isn’t a thing. U don’t accumulate one and u can’t use an existing no claims. As I’ve driven a motorcars an for 5 years and couldn’t use my no claims I lost it…yup wiped clean. So now I’m going from insuring as a motorcaravan for £260 to insuring a van with windows with no ‘no claims bonus’ for £900… TOTAL JOKE…it’s the same f’in vehicle

  35. So pleased I stumbled across this site / page. Thanks for your trouble in pulling this together.

    Initially I had no interest in applying for a change of classification, particularly given our insurance company recognised our Sprinter camper as a van. So saw no benefit.

    However, much in the same way Jayne has recently commented, our Sprinter conversion is close on the 3500kg weight limit and will almost certainly exceed when adding bikes, tower, bike rack, additional water etc. And certainly not wanting to break the law, I’ve sought to get the ‘van’ uprated to 3850kg or even 4050kg GVW. However the uprating company require the ‘panel van’ to be reclassified before being able to uprate.

    Now interestingly they say the DVLA will probably list as a ‘van with windows’ as opposed to motor caravan (and that ties in with your findings of declined reclassification requests), though from my point of view, so long as I get reclassified as ‘van with windows’ at least I’ll be able to proceed with uprate.

    My two questions – i) Would be interesting to hear if Jayne got her Sprinter reclassified? And as what?
    ii) I wonder whether body type ‘van with windows’, and over 3500kg GVW will affect insurance in any way?

    1. Hi Richard, thanks for your message. That’s interesting to hear that you’re not able to uprate your van unless you’ve had it reclassified. However it sounds like the uprate should be possible as a ‘van with windows’? I’m also unsure as to whether this will affect your insurance. Let us know how you get on, we’d be interested to hear how it turns out.

  36. I live on a Scottish island. My 6.4m long Sprinter conversion is classified as a Campervan on my V5C and as a result the fare to get on and off the island with Calmac ferries (the main Scottish carrier) is £61 return as opposed to £66 one way for panel vans. Definitely beneficial being a camper van.

    1. Hi Andy, we’ve also used the Calmac ferries and the ticket type is just based on what your vehicle ‘is’ rather than what it’s registered as on your V5C. If your vehicle visually looks like a campervan (the ticket type is ‘motorhome’) then it’s fine to purchase this ticket type.

  37. Hi Steven, I am in the process of fitting out another van and reading your article he decided not to bother changing the v5, my question is can I still put graphics on it as it will change the appeared ce of the van

  38. Hi Guys,

    Have all converted campervan owners who have not reclassified their van as a camper with the DLVA still passed the vans MOT each year? I’m about to install a pop up roof in my transit and wondered whether it’s a step too far, and that the van will fail the MOT as a result.

    1. Hi James, it shouldn’t affect your MOT. It’s still fine to have pop tops / graphics etc, and be registered as a van with windows / panel van etc, because the DVLA will no longer reclassify. Hope that helps!

    1. Hey Dawmn,

      Yes, you can take your converted van to Spain or any other EU country providing you have tax and insurance. If you head out of the EU, to the Balkans for example, make sure to bring your V5C as most boarders will request this 🙂

  39. Hi there. Just thought I’d update now that my Mercedes Sprinter camper van has been uprated to 3850kg. SvTech were absolutely brilliant and made the process very simple. They were spot on also with DVLA’s response to my attempt to get the body type reclassified as Motor caravan, and despite ticking all the boxes, like most others here, they reclassified as ‘Van/Side Windows’. Though in the end this mattered not, as SvTech were then able to proceed with the uprate and I’ve just received my new V5 with the appropriate revenue weight. As it’s now a PHGV then I benefit from road tax being £130 less each year (£165 instead of £295). And will shortly receive the rebate for the remainder from this year. It also means I’ve no use for the graphics on the van now and will look to remove with care shortly. Recently had its MOT also, which wasn’t affected whatsoever with the new revenue weight. So other than those who passed their test post 1997 (and would need to sit a new test), I’m struggling to see the downsides in getting it uprated. Peace of mind now when fully laden and significantly cheaper road tax.
    Thanks for all the help.

    1. Hi Richard, thanks for sharing your update – glad to hear you were able to uprate your Sprinter and that you were able to do this as a ‘van with windows’. Thanks!

  40. Im potentially getting myself a van to convert and rent out when im not using it (using something like camplify or goboony 12 weeks a year). What i noticed is camplify states in regards to can i rent out my conversion..
    “Yes, you can list a converted van on Camplify.

    All van conversions must be registered with the DVLA. For more information on conversion requirements please click here.”

    So my question is, does its registration affect ones ability to rent it out as a camper? I noticed theres a few ‘newly 2022 converted’ vans on their website with pop tops (which i assume are “van with windows”) so i wonder if its out of date or as long as its insured appropriately it doesn’t matter?

    Would be good to hear if anyone has any feedback! Cheers

    1. Hi Mark, this sounds like a legacy policy from Camplify. We’d recommend contacting them to clarify this, but I’ve never heard of anyone having issues renting out a van that isn’t registered as a ‘motor caravan’ with the DVLA. There are certain requirements you need to meet to hire out your van, such as having a Gas Safe certificate and potentially an electrical certificate, but I’m fairly sure that reclassified isn’t a requirement.

  41. Ok great article but the one area that its is advantage is clean air areas that you need to pay for if your DVLA reg is light van you have to pay if a Motor home you are exempt from paying as there seems to be a lot of areas going to clean air zones it could be a benefit to register a van

  42. Hi, Thanks for the interesting article & to confirm DVLA are still refusing re-classification to “Camper Van” in Nov 2022 despite all the criteria being met (as far as I could tell!). They don’t give any specific info in why it’s been refused, but they did re-classify my Transit T350 as “Van with windows”.
    So my main question is about MOT tests: previously I’ve put it in for a class 7 MOT which is defined as “Goods vehicles (over 3,000kg up to 3,500kg design gross weight)” but seeing as I’m using it as a camper van & have never used it as a “goods vehicle” can I put it in as a class 4 “Motor caravan”?

    1. Hi Steve, I believe if your van is registered as a ‘van with windows’ and it’s 3000kg-3500kg gross weight, you’ll need a class 7 MOT, however it’s worth double checking with the garage. Thanks

  43. Hi, thanks for your informative article. I’m looking at a van this week. It is not classified as a campervan which is not surprising according to what has been said about the DVLA, and also not a necessity from what I gather from your information. The vehicle I’m looking at is classified as having 3 seats on the V5 (the original 3front seats on a VW transporter) but now it has 5 belted seats if you include the rock and roll bed. Should I be concerned about this in terms of safety and legality? Or is this normal?

    1. Hi Mark, thanks for your message. I’m not sure if there’s a legal requirement to update the V5C to have accurate information about the number of internal seats, but this is easy to do by writing to the DVLA with proof of the change. They will be able to update the V5C accordingly. Thanks

  44. It’s all about the ulez charges campervans are exempt so they don’t want you to get away from paying the charges,

    1. Hi Wayne, most ULEZ zones have exemptions based on emissions and whether a vehicle is Euro 6, rather than whether it’s registered as a campervan. If your campervan is Euro 5 or below, it’s likely you will still need to pay to enter most ULEZ zones. As it’s now almost impossible to re-register, it’s unfortunately only Euro 6 self-converted campervans which will be exempt from these charges.

    1. Hi Christine, I’m not sure I understand your question. The clean air zones are based on the vehicle itself rather than whether or not your van is a campervan. So if it’s not Euro 6, you will need to pay to enter some clean air zones. It’s no longer possible to classify as a campervan so even if this does affect some clean air zones, unfortunately self-builds won’t be able to take advantage of this. Thanks

  45. I’m not sure what to do, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    I have a 7.5ton Horsebox that I have converted.

    I presented it to the MOT garage last April and the did a class 4 MOT as it was presented as a camper. It passed no problem.

    I’ve also got insurance as a camper.

    I’ve just gone to MOT this year and the garage cannot process the MOT to print the documents.

    They are saying that as it was originally a livestock carrier and I MOT’d last year as a class 4. I MUST have contacted the DVLA to report the change. As I didn’t see the point the MOT computer system will not allow me to get a new MOT.

    Is this right? Should I have reported the charge to the DVLA?

    There is no where to say that they will put a stop to MOT certification without the evidence of change?

    1. Hi Louise, I’ve never heard of this happening, have you tried multiple garages or just one? As DVLA have stopped re-registering vehicles as campers, it should still be possible to get an MOT whilst not officially being a ‘motor caravan’ on your V5C. I would try another garage. Good luck!

  46. Hi your article seems to be what I wanted to hear! I’ve just finished completing my second camper conversion and I can’t be bothered to go trough all the reclassification process again for a second time. So let me get this straight it is fine and legal for me to leave the van as it is described on the v5c (body type – panel van/ taxation class light goods vehicle) and not have it changed it to a ‘van with windows’ ??

    1. Hi John, yes exactly, as long as the V5C has a description that matches your van (e.g. ours is ‘yellow panel van’) – which should be the case as long as you’ve made some pretty extensive exterior upgrades! – then you should be fine to leave as is. Best wishes, Charlie & Dale

  47. Hi , just an update to this thread.
    I sent an application off to DVLA to change my Mercedes Sprinter to a motor Caravan, just over a week ago , it has just arrived back successful and I don’t have a fixed awing attached to either side.
    It may be worth people starting to try again as looks like things have changed😊

  48. Hi, we are in a similar situation to Sandy in that we are trying to import our 1987 LandRover130 ex-ambulance into Portugal but the authorities won’t accept it because it says ‘Van with Windows’ on the V5. We’ve been knocked back twice by DVLA despite meeting all the criteria (including wasting 200 Euros on hideous ‘Graphics’). Would it be possible to be put in contact with Steve to see how he went about taking his case to the ICA (what is this?) and getting his vehicle recassified? We are getting very desperate as we are now technically illegal in Portugal driving our camper. Unfortunately the Portuguese authorities are just as pig headed as DVLA and we can’t move forward with legalising are beloved Landie until the V5 says ‘Motor Caravan’. Many thanks, Duncan & Carol

    1. Hi Duncan & Carol, we’ve just reached out to Steve to see if he’s happy for us to share his contact details with yourself. We’ll let you know if we hear back. Best wishes, Charlie & Dale

  49. I totally agree. I’ve just had my log book returned, and it’s gone from a panel van to van/side windows. I ticked every box plus some extras. Sent over 60 pictures from every angle. All gas and electric test certs,which h by the way they apparently have lost. What a joke the dvla are.

  50. I’ve had two unsuccessful attempts to re-register my van as a campervan. DVLA is satisfied with all aspects of my van except their ambiguous statemnt of “it must be recogniseable as a campervan in traffic” I do have signs on either side but seemingly they’re not good enough. However, they are far more prominent than my licence plates!!!

  51. Hi. We have just started on our conversion journey and we were wondering about changing the V5 with DVLA. After reading all the comments I don’t think we will bother until DVLA sorts its act out and sets out clear unambiguous guidelines. Everything on our build complies with the requirements. We are puzzled by the “graphics” requirement as what looks acceptable to one may just look like boy racer stripes to another. Thank you for a great article. It’s been a font of information

  52. Just came across this article, very helpful indeed but just wanted to know whether the current situation as changed since this was posted. We are in the middle of converting our transit mini bus and just wanted to be sure we don’t get caught out by any covert changes by the DVLA.

    1. We’re glad you found the article useful! I have just checked online and the GOV guidance here doesn’t appear to have been updated since August 2020 so it looks like nothing has changed.

      Good luck!

  53. We have a transit van which we have made into a Day van
    We have taken out the double passenger seat and drivers and replaced with 2 single seats in the front
    The back has been panelled insulated and carpeted out with light in the ceiling a fixed window has been put in each side a side bench seat with storage and a unit with a 2 burner gas top with a gas cylinder in the cupboard
    How do I reclassify this ?

  54. If anyone is experiencing problems insuring their van as a camper. Adrian flux will insure as such without the logbook being changed. My vito and my Peugeot boxer are both insured as campers although the log books state panel Van’s.

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