Changes to DVLA Rules for Registering a Campervan Conversion

As more and more people seem to be converting panel vans to camper vans, the DVLA has responded by updating the requirements to register a vehicle as a camper.

As of October 2019, the DVLA has updated its rules for registering a campervan conversion as a motor caravan. If you plan on living in your van conversion, it’s not strictly necessary for you to register as a motor caravan or meet the exact requirements - as long as you’re comfortable sleeping in it. Despite this, there are several benefits to gain from getting your conversion registered as such with the DVLA.

DVLA exterior camper van conversion requirements

If your campervan fits the bill, then there are a few other requirements it must meet for motor caravan registration, these are split into external and internal features.

The external features the DVLA expects to see in your van are:

  • Two or more windows on at least one side of the vehicle’s body. This doesn’t include windows on the driver or passenger doors. This is to allow sufficient daylight into the living area
  • An additional door to allow access to the living quarters of the van (excluding the driver and passenger doors). If there’s a window on this door, it counts separately as a window on the body
  • Motor caravan-style graphics on each side of the vehicle
  • An awning bar on either side of the vehicle for a canopy attachment to fit
  • A high top roof, excluding pop-top elevating roofs

Internal features necessary to gain motor caravan registration are:

  • A table and seats
  • A sleeping space, this is allowed to be converted from seats
  • Facilities for cooking
  • Facilities for storage
DVLA interior camper van conversion requirements

Everything you need to apply can be found on the government site here.

Although it’s not strictly necessary to register your conversion as such, there are some benefits you might find from doing so, such as:

Lower insurance costs - having your vehicle registered as a leisure vehicle and not just a panel van can result in less expensive insurance. As campers usually make fewer claims, do fewer miles and avoid the more risky nature of commercial use. Campervan insurance is usually 10 - 50% cheaper than standard van insurance.

This can also apply to contents insurance, due to the nature of belongings expected to be inside the van - personal items are typically cheaper to insure than those intended for commercial use such as tools and building materials, etc

May be permitted to travel faster in certain circumstances - vans weighing under 3050kg when empty are allowed to travel at 60mph on dual carriageways, however, if the same van were registered as a motor caravan it would have a speed limit of 60mph on dual carriageways. Unfortunately, campervans in excess of 3050kg have no change in allowed speed limit.

Could result in slightly cheaper MOT costs if your camper is heavy enough - between 3,000 and 3,500kg, vehicles that would typically come under Class 7 for MOTs will instead be assessed under the less costly and restrictive Class 4 rules if registered as a motor caravan.

Increased chance of lower ferry prices - if you plan on travelling abroad with your camper, then getting it properly registered may make your fare across the water a bit less pricey. While a lot of ferry companies will simply look at a converted camper and allow the lower price, some will check the DVLA logbook for registration. So, registering as a motor caravan helps ensure you qualify for lower camper ferry fares.

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