We quite often convert campers from everyday panels vans. We re-register the panel van as a motor caravan for the following benefits:

Recent DVLA Motor Caravan Update (Updated: Nov / 19)

We quite often convert campers from everyday panel vans, we re-register the panel van as a motor caravan for the following benefits:

  1. Cheaper Insurance – Generally leisure vehicles such as campervans are cheaper to insure than panel vans.  This is because they generally have fewer claims, do fewer miles and are not used for commercial use.  Keep in mind that you can still get your self build insured as a campervan even if the vehicle is registered as a panel van.  Campervan insurance is generally 10% – 50% cheaper than van insurance.
  2. Contents Insurance – Vehicles registered as campervans generally have better contents insurance than panel vans.  This is because a campervan contains personal belongings such as mobile phone, laptops, jewellery, etc.  Whereas a panel van typically contains tools and parts for commercial use.
  3. Might be able to travel faster – Vans with an unladen weight of under 3050kg can travel at a maximum of 60mph on a dual carriageway.  But this increases to 70mph on a dual carriageway for vehicles registered as campervans.  All other speed limits remain the same.  Vehicles with an unladen weight over 3050kg (i.e. all 3500kg vans) have no change in speed limit when re-registering as a campervan.
  4. Cheaper MOT – Class VII vehicles (between 3000kg and 3500kg) registered as camper vans come under the cheaper and less restriction Class IV MOT rules.  When inspecting the vehicle the MOT tester has to test the vehicle “as it is presented”.  So if a campervan is presented, that would normally be class VII, even if it is not re-registered as a campervan, the MOT tester should test is as class IV vehicle.
  5. Might get cheaper ferry prices – Travelling on a ferry is typically cheaper for a campervan or motorhome than a commercial van.  Most ferry companies look at a converted campervan and are happy for it to pay the cheaper campervan price.  However, a few ferry companies will use the DVLA logbook classification to determine whether to price the vehicle as a commercial vehicle or not.

(Referenced from https://www.campervanlife.com/conversions/legal-information/).

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:

  • 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

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.

Useful Documents

How to change the classification to a camper (motor caravan)?

Convert your van into a camper

Its quite easy if your converted van meets the requirement of the DVLA. Here is a snippet of what they say:

For a vehicle to be recognised as being converted to a motor caravan it must meet all 4 categories shown below. For DVLA to change the body type, the vehicle must have the external permanent features described in the DVLA guidance for converting a vehicle into a motor caravan.

“Motor caravan” means a special purposes passenger car constructed to include living accommodation which contains at least the following equipment:

  • seats and table,
  • sleeping accommodation which may be converted from the seats,
  • cooking facilities, and
  • storage facilities.

This equipment shall be rigidly fixed to the living compartment; however, the table may be designed to be easily removable.

The interpretation applied to this definition is as follows

Seats and a Table

  • 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 sidewall.
  • 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 sidewall.
  • The seats must be secured as a permanent feature, (bolted riveted, screwed or welded).

Sleeping Accommodation

  • 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 sidewall, (unless the sleeping accommodation is provided as a provision over the driver’s cab compartment.

Cooking Facilities

  • That is an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation and is mounted independently of other items.
  • That is secured to the vehicle floor and/or sidewall.
  • Secured as a permanent feature, (bolted, riveted, screwed, or welded.
  • The cooking facility must consist of a minimum of a single ring cooking facility or a microwave, in either case, having a fuel/power source.
  • 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.
  • If the cooking facility is fuelled by gas having an on-board gas supply the fuel reservoir must be secured in a storage cupboard or the reservoir secured to the vehicle structure.

Storage Facilities

  • 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 sidewall unless a storage provision is provided over the driver’s cab compartment.

“Passenger Car” means a motor vehicle which is constructed solely for the carriage of passengers and their effects or is a dual-purpose vehicle and which –

i   is adapted to carry not more than 8 passengers exclusive of the driver and either has four or more wheels or, if having only three wheels has a maximum gross weight of more than 1,000 kg,


ii.   has three wheels, a maximum gross weight not exceeding 1,000 kg, and either a design speed exceeding 50 k.p.h. (31 mph) or an engine with a capacity exceeding 50cc, and is not a motorcycle with or without a sidecar attached.

Note:  Larger vehicles such as Limousines with bench seating arrangements can be approved, subject to the applicant declaring that the vehicle is only suitable for carrying up to 8 passengers.

(Referenced from https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/vehicles/vssafety/importsapproval/howtoimportyourvehicleperman4559?page=8.

Motor caravan external permanent features

The DVLA has recently updated this list of external features that must be included 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)

DVLA will need photographic evidence of the completed conversion.

Send documents to the DVLA

  1. Once you have built your camper, simply change the classification of your vehicle from ‘Panel Van’ to ‘Motor Caravan’ on your Logbook (V5C). Your current body type must be one of the applicable body types as above… (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.)
  2. Print and complete the DVLA motor caravan conversion checklist
  3. Attach a list of parts added to the van
  4. Attach a cover letter explaining what you have done
  5. Attach interior photos of each of the required features with the bed and table in the use position. 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
  6. Attach exterior photos of the front, back and both sides of your new camper. Make sure the number plate is clearly visible, so they know its the vehicle in question
  7. Take a photo showing the vehicle identification number (VIN) or the chassis number stamped on the plate attached to the original chassis or vehicle bodyshell
  8. On the back of each photo, write a description of what the photo shows, the date and the vehicle registration number

Now standby for your new logbook to arrive in the post. it may take 4-6 weeks. Once your vehicle has been officially re-classified by the DVLA, you will need to change your insurance from panel van to motor home.


Useful camper conversion links:

DVLA – Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

VOSA – Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) provides a range of licensing, testing and enforcement services with the aim of improving the roadworthiness standards of vehicles, ensuring the compliance of operators and drivers, and supporting the independent Traffic Commissioners.

Campervan Life – For lots of useful info about campers

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