Was Your Campervan Conversion Refused By The DVLA?

19 October 2021

With the uptick of van life and accessibility to easy campervan conversion “how-tos,” thanks to the prevalence of YouTube and other internet sites, converting a van to a campervan has never been more accessible.

However, stringent DVLA laws and confusing rejections have led to a lot of speculation and uncertainty in recent years. In 2019 alone, the DVLA refused 9,488 applications as confirmed to MMM magazine, and they don’t say why either. In light of this, we’ve put together this guide to DVLA campervan classification.

What is a ‘motor caravan’?

The DVLA recognises motorhomes, campervans, and day vans all under the same classification of ‘motor caravan’. However, if you’ve converted a van, or similar vehicle, into a campervan or motorhome, then you’ll often need to obtain reclassification to a motor caravan.

While classification doesn’t affect insurance, and won’t affect how you drive it, it can be important for licensing and for the DVLA to understand the vehicles on the road.

How do I get re-classification as a motor caravan?

To receive aftermarket classification as a motor caravan, you need to meet all three of the following:

  1. Your current body type, according to your V5C, is one of the following:
    • 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
  2. You have the required motor caravan external features
  3. You have the required motor caravan internal features

To support your reclassification, you’ll have to submit evidence of the above to the DVLA. This is in the form of photos, a V5C, and the motor caravan vehicle checklist.

The evidence required to submit

In order for the DVLA to even process your application, you must provide the following:

  1. A completed motor caravan conversion checklist, which you can find here
  2. A V5C currently showing one of the body types listed above
  3. Photos showing the required internal features with all features in the ‘in use’ positions, as well as the windows letting light into the living area.
  4. Exterior photos showing the campervan from all angles, with license plates, clearly shown
  5. Photos showing the VIN/chassis number on the bodyshell or original chassis.
  6. All photos must be clearly described on the back, including the date taken and the vehicle number plate

Your vehicle may also be subject to an inspection, and failure to facilitate this will result in a refused application.

What comes under the guidance for external features?

For the DVLA to consider your conversion a motor caravan, they expect to see certain features. These are guidance features, not required features.

You could need features such as:

  • Two or more windows to let light into the living accommodation. The driver and passenger side windows do not count.
  • Separate access to the living area, excluding the driver and passenger doors.
  • Motorcaravan style graphics on both sides of the vehicle, such as seen on motorhomes
  • Awning bar on the vehicle
  • High top, not a pop-top, roof

Any external features must be permanent and need to be shown completed in the photos.

Internal features for motor caravans

Internal classification is different to an external feature. To meet DVLA requirements you have to meet all of the four categories.

Category One: Seats and a Table

The seats and table must have the following features, and you must have one example for both seats and table:

  1. Be a core part of the main living area, and be independently mounted of other parts
  2. The table mount must be permanent, even if the tabletop is not
  3. The seating must be available for use at the table and fixed to the floor or wall

Category Two: Sleeping

Sleeping areas must be:

  1. A core part of the living area
  2. Permanent beds, or beds that are converted from seats such as a rock and roll bed
  3. Must be a permanent and secured feature, either to the floor or sidewall, unless it’s over the cab

Category 3: Kitchen and cooking

To be even classified as a motor caravan, you have to have a single ring hob or a permanently secured microwave.

If your cooking is powered by an onboard gas supply, then you must secure the gas in a secure storage cupboard or fix the reservoir to the vehicle structure. If your gas supply is fuelled by a cannister remotely, then the supply pipe must be secured to the vehicle structure.

Category 4: Storage facilities

Your campervan conversion must-have storage, which:

  • Can be a cupboard or a locker
  • Forms a core part of the main living area, mounted independently unless it’s below the seat, sleeping area or cooker.
  • Must be secured to the vehicle floor or wall, unless it’s over the driver cab.

Sending off Evidence to the DVLA

The DVLA requires that you send all evidence to:

SA99 1BA

At the time of writing, there’s no alternative online method to submit evidence. You can find more information on submitting evidence here on the DVLA site.

Why did the DVLA refuse my campervan application?

Truthfully, no one knows. Reasons given are often vague and don’t match up with the regulations given.

Want to insure your converted campervan?

Speak to Just Kampers Insurance, and we can help you source insurance, before or after you have sought campervan classification from the DVLA.

Get in touch today.

For more information about tailoring insurance policies to your campervan or motorhome, whether you’re after affordable premiums, or something with that little bit more protection, consider coverage from the experts at Just Kampers Insurance.

Written by: Jason Sims

Jason is a Marketing Executive at Just Kampers who is a fully-fledged VW enthusiast, with over 20 years’ experience in keeping Volkswagens old and new on the road, he currently owns a 69 Cal Look Beetle, and enjoys attending VW shows and Camping with friends and family.

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