Individual Vehicle Approval

If your vehicle is not provided with a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) from the manufacturer, a vehicle type approval is needed. All vehicle categories need this.

Vehicle approval during Coronavirus

The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) will be conducting a limited number of Individual Vehicle Approval Tests (IVA) tests under a priority scheme to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

For the most up-to-date position on DVA service availability, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and motoring page.

All vehicles need to be approved to make sure they meet certain safety and environmental standards. Normally, the manufacturer or importer will take care of this. However, if your vehicle does not have approval, you will need to apply for it. Examples of when this might happen include if you’re registering a rebuilt vehicle, a radically altered vehicle, a kit converted vehicle or have imported a vehicle.

More information is available on the link below:

You need a vehicle approval test if you’ve:

  • built a vehicle
  • rebuilt a vehicle
  • radically altered a vehicle
  • imported a vehicle

Apply for a Priority IVA Test

You can apply for a priority IVA test from 1 June 2020. Tests will be allocated on a priority basis.

A limited number of tests are available. This means that:

  • you might not get an appointment for a test
  • your appointment might be changed if a higher-priority vehicle needs to be tested

Eligible Vehicles

If your vehicle is being used to support the coronavirus response you’ll also need to provide proof with your application - for example, a statement from the vehicle operator saying what the vehicle will be used for.

A vehicle is critical to the coronavirus response if it is:

  • an emergency services vehicle
  • a goods vehicle (or other vehicle) critical to the Covid-19 response

NOTE: Vehicles considered critical to the COVID-19 response will be prioritised and will be allocated a vehicle test appointment. Applications must be supported by vehicle specific evidence, from the end user, that describes how the vehicle will be used to support the COVID-19 response.

Exemptions from IVA

You don’t need vehicle approval for:

  • heavy goods vehicles (more than 3,500kg maximum weight) over 25 years old
  • light goods vehicles (3,500kg maximum weight or less) over 10 years old
  • cars and minibuses with eight passenger seats or less (not including the driver) over 10 years old
  • buses, coaches and minibuses with more than eight passenger seats (not including the driver) built by a single manufacturer before 29 July 2010
  • buses, coaches and minibuses with more than eight passenger seats (not including the driver) with different body and chassis manufacturers, made before 29 July 2011
  • tracked vehicles - a vehicle that runs on tracks rather than wheels
  • vehicles designed and constructed for use on construction sites, quarries, ports and airports
  • vehicles designed and constructed for and used by the armed services, fire and rescue forces, or used in maintaining public order

If your vehicle needs approval, you must send proof of this in when you apply to register it. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) won’t register your vehicle if you don’t.

The scheme

You can use the IVA scheme if you’re making or importing a single vehicle or a very small number of vehicles in the following categories:

  • passenger cars
  • light goods vehicles (up to 3,500kg)
  • buses and coaches
  • medium to heavy goods vehicles (more than 3,500kg)
  • trailers
  • special purpose vehicles, such as vehicles specially designed to hold a wheelchair
  • medium and heavy trucks built in multiple stages
  • special purpose vehicles, such as mobile cranes and trailer caravans

To help vehicle owners prepare their vehicle for IVA, full details are available in the IVA inspection manuals.

Basic and normal IVA

There are two levels of IVA inspection: basic and normal.

Basic IVA

Basic IVA involves a visual inspection and other tests to make sure the vehicle meets the necessary standards. You won’t normally need to provide any documentary evidence.

You can apply if you have a passenger car or light goods vehicle in one of these categories:

  • left-hand drive vehicles
  • personal imports
  • amateur built vehicles (kit cars)
  • rebuilt vehicles
  • very low volume production vehicles
  • ambulances
  • motor caravans
  • hearses
  • armoured passenger vehicles
  • a vehicle manufactured using parts of a registered vehicle

Normal IVA

If you don’t meet the criteria for basic IVA, you’ll have to apply for normal IVA. This involves a more detailed inspection. Vehicles have to meet extra standards and you must provide documentary evidence of this.

How to show your vehicle meets IVA standards

There are several ways to prove your vehicle meets IVA standards. For full details, refer to the IVA Guide

Voluntary IVA

You can apply for a Voluntary IVA if you have a registered vehicle and later on converted it to carry an occupied wheelchair because you now want to use the vehicle as a Class B taxi.   

The Voluntary IVA test does not guarantee the vehicle’s suitability as a Class B taxi and you should confirm that your vehicle is able meet the Taxi Licensing and Taxi Accessibility rules before you apply for the IVA test.

The converted vehicle must not carry more than eight passengers - this includes the wheelchair passenger but does not include the driver.  The original vehicle must be constructed and certified as an M1, N1 or M2 category vehicle to be accepted for the test.   

Your vehicle will need to go through the Normal IVA test requirements which are can be found in the manual titled 'Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) manual for vehicle category M1 (Passenger Vehicles)' which is on the following page opposite 'Documents': 

Useful links for a Voluntary IVA: 

How to apply

Download and complete the Priority Application form PT1 and the application form applicable to type of vehicle you wish tested.

Email the completed forms to:

Email: Specialist.testingDVA@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

Once the application has been cleared for testing, DVA staff will contact the applicant by phone to receive the payment for the test.  Payment for the test can only be made by credit or debit card.

Details of the appointment date and time will be sent by email to the applicant.

What happens next

DVA will inspect your vehicle at the test location shown on the appointment letter. Note that testing locations are limited owing to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. An. Individual Approval Certificate (IAC) will be issued if the vehicle  passes. You will need this certificate to register your vehicle.

IVA test fees

Passenger cars

(No more than eight seats in addition to the drivers seat)

Categories Full Test £ Retest £
Normal 199.00 40.00
Wheelchair Accessiblie Vehicles (Wav) (W) 199.00 40.00
Basic (Classes L, M, N, P) 199.00 40.00
Basic (Classes A, C, S) 450.00 90.00
Voluntary IVA (WAV)                                   240.00 48.00

Light goods vehicles

(Vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes)

Categories Full Test £ Retest £
Normal 199.00 40.00
Basic (Classes L, M, N, P) 199.00 40.00
Basic (Classes A, C, S) 450.00 90.00

Definitions of classes:

  • L - a vehicle manufactured in a very low number
  • M - hearse, motor ambulance, or motor caravan
  • N - left hand drive
  • P - personal import
  • A - amateur vehicle
  • C - a vehicle built by a person in the business of building vehicles, using parts of a vehicle registered in the UK
  • S - rebuilt vehicle

Larger vehicles and trailers

Categories Full Test £ Retest £
Buses M2 250.00 50.00
Buses and Coaches M3  (2 / 3 Axle) 360.00 72.00
Goods Vehicles N2 and N3 230.00 46.00
Trailers 01 and 02 70.00 14.00
Trailers 03 and 04 145.00 29.00

Definitions of classes:

  • M2 - more than eight seats in addition to the drivers seat and not more than five tonnes
  • M3 - more than eight seats in addition to the drivers seat and over five tonnes
  • N2 - vans and trucks not more than five tonnes
  • N3 - vans and trucks over five tonnes
  • 01 - 750kg or less
  • 02 - over 750kg but under 3.5 tonnes
  • 03 - over 3.5 tonnes but under 10 tonnes
  • 04 - over 10 tonnes

Mopeds and other vehicles

Categories Full Test £ Retest £
Low power moped* 45.00 15.00
Two-wheeled vehicles 70.00 15.00
Three/ four-wheeled vehicles 85.00 15.00

(*) A low power moped is defined as a moped with pedals, with auxiliary propulsion not exceeding 1kW, and a maximum design speed not exceeding 25km/h (16mph). 

Additional fees

Additional fees for: Fee £
Mutual Recognition/ EC Approved Vehicle without Certificate of Conformity 100.00
Replacement Individual Approval Certificate 25.00

How to appeal

If your vehicle doesn't pass its inspection and you're not satisfied with the decision, you can appeal and have a re-examination carried out by a senior inspector.

You must make your appeal within 14 days of the decision and you will have to pay a fee. This fee is the same as the application fee for the full test. It will be refunded, either in part or in full, if your appeal is successful.

You must not modify the vehicle before the appeal inspection.

If you wish to appeal, please contact:

Driver and Vehicle Agency
IVA Manager
Balmoral Road
Malone Lower
Belfast
BT12 6QL

email: Belfast.opsdva@infrastucture-ni.gov.uk

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