Converting a vehicle into a motor caravan (motor home)

Updated 7 August 2020

DVLA is required to record vehicle details for road safety and law enforcement. The body type information held on the vehicle record must describe what a vehicle looks like in traffic. This description, as well as other distinguishing features, allows the police and other enforcement agencies to easily identify vehicles.

The body type does not affect the insurance category of the vehicle, or have any effect on speed limits or other legislative requirements. It is only used for establishing vehicle appearance and identification.

It is important to remember that even if the vehicle’s body type is not changed to ‘motor caravan’, the vehicle can still be used for this purpose as long as the keeper is satisfied the converted vehicle meets the required internal features for motor caravans.

DVLA is responsible for making sure the vehicle record is accurate. To change the body type of a vehicle, DVLA has to be satisfied that the vehicle meets their policy for body types. Requests for a body type change to ‘motor caravan’ require that your vehicle has external features that can be recognised as those of a motor caravan. It is the responsibility of the converter or vehicle keeper to make sure that any alterations made to the vehicle do not compromise its safety.

The body type of your vehicle will not be changed unless its exterior looks like a motor caravan in traffic.

Requirements for changing body type to motor caravan

DVLA will only consider changing the body type to motor caravan (motorhome) if the vehicle meets the following three requirements:

  1. The body type shown on your V5C registration certificate (log book) is one of those shown in the list below
  2. Motor caravan external permanent features
  3. Motor caravan internal features

Current body type shown on your V5C registration certificate (log book)

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.

Motor caravan external permanent features

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.

Evidence needed to support your application

You must include the following evidence to support your application:

  • a completed motor caravan conversion checklist
  • a V5C showing one of the applicable body types as above
  • interior photos of each one of the required features with the bed and table in the use position (see ‘Motor caravan internal features’ below); 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
  • exterior photos from the front, both sides and rear with the registration plates clearly visible
  • a photo showing the vehicle identification number (VIN) or the chassis number stamped on the plate attached to the original chassis or vehicle bodyshell

On the back of each photo, write a description of what the photo shows, the date and the vehicle registration number.

Photographs will not be automatically returned - if you want your photographs returned you must request this in your application.

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.

Make any other changes, if you need to, and send the V5C with the required evidence to:

SA99 1BA

DVLA will consider all the information provided. Then they will either decide that the body type must stay the same, or allocate an appropriate description based on the changes made to make sure the recorded body type accurately reflects the vehicle’s external appearance in traffic.

Your vehicle may also require a DVLA inspection. DVLA will cover the cost of the inspection, but any costs associated with transporting the vehicle to the inspection will not be reimbursed. If the vehicle cannot be inspected, the application will be refused and no further action will be taken.

You must provide clear evidence that the vehicle you have converted will permanently be a ‘motor caravan’ and it meets the requirements for the internal and external features.

Motor caravan internal features

Motor caravan means a special purpose M category vehicle constructed to include living accommodation which contains at least the following internal equipment:

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

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

These features are defined by the type approval requirements for motor caravans.

See the full definition for required internal features.