Vehicle type-approval from 1 January 2021

What vehicle and component manufacturers would need to do to show they meet safety and environmental standards from 1 January 2021.

This guidance was withdrawn on

See the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) website for the latest guidance on Issuing GB type approval from 1 January 2021.

Rules for vehicle and component type-approval from 1 January 2021

Manufacturers will need to make sure they have the correct type-approval for each market - the EU and the UK.

Type-approvals issued in the UK will no longer be valid for sales or registrations on the EU market.

European Community type-approvals (EC type-approvals) issued in the UK will no longer be valid for sales or registrations on the EU market.

EC type-approvals issued outside of the UK, will no longer be automatically accepted for registering vehicles on the UK market.

The UK will continue to recognise United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) approvals for systems and components. The EU will continue to recognise UN-ECE approvals issued by the UK.

The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) will remain a technical service and type-approval authority for the testing of UK and UN-ECE type-approvals.

Existing vehicle and component type-approvals

Vehicle manufacturers will need a provisional UK type-approval before placing their products on the UK market. EC type-approvals will no longer be valid for this purpose, unless the vehicle was in the UK on or before 31 December 2020.

Initially, component, trailer and non-road mobile machinery manufacturers with a valid EC type-approval will not need a provisional UK type-approval. We envisage extending the UK approval process to these products at a later date.

UK and EU technical standards will be aligned immediately after 31 December 2020. As such, the UK will issue provisional UK type-approvals, upon application, to manufacturers that can prove they hold valid EC type-approvals. This will be an administrative conversion of EC type-approvals into UK type-approvals. This streamlined approach avoids costly re-testing and re-design for manufacturers. It will also ensure that products can continue to be sold and registered in the UK.

The provisional UK type-approval will be valid for 2 years from the date of issue. It will need to be converted into a full UK type-approval during this period or it will become invalid. Legislation to allow the VCA to convert provisional type-approvals into full type-approvals is expected to be in place during 2021.

Manufacturers currently holding a VCA-issued EC type-approval, who intend to continue placing their products on the EU market, must have a new EC type-approval from a type-approval authority in an EU country. This process is set out in EU Regulation 2019/26.

New vehicle and component type-approvals

Manufacturers will need a UK type-approval if they intend to place new vehicle models onto the UK market after 31 December 2020.

Manufacturers must follow the requirements of the UK type-approval scheme if they intend to get a UK approval on the basis of their EC type-approval.

Manufacturers wishing to place new products on the EU market after 31 December 2020 will need to follow the existing procedure for obtaining a new EC type-approval. Full testing and certification must be done by an EU type-approval authority and a technical service designated by that authority.

Vehicle categories and engines subject to EC type-approval

Passenger vehicles:

  • passenger cars (M1)
  • mini-buses (M2)
  • buses and coaches (M3)

Goods vehicles:

  • light goods vehicles, car derived vans (N1)
  • goods vehicles up to 12 tonnes (N2)
  • goods vehicles over 12 tonnes (N3)

Trailers for road vehicles:

  • light trailers (O1)
  • trailers up to 3.5 tonnes (O2)
  • trailers up to 10 tonnes (O3)
  • trailers over 10 tonnes (O4)


  • mopeds and powered cycles (L1)
  • 3-wheel mopeds (L2)
  • motorcycles (L3)
  • motorcycles with sidecar (L4)
  • powered tricycles (L5)
  • light quadricycles (L6)
  • heavy quadricycles (L7)

Agricultural and forestry vehicles:

  • wheeled tractors (T)
  • tracked tractors (C)

Engines for non-road mobile machinery including:

  • small gardening and handheld equipment (lawn mowers, chainsaws, etc)
  • construction machinery (excavators, loaders, bulldozers, etc)
  • agricultural and farming machinery (harvesters, cultivators, etc)
  • railcars, locomotives and inland waterway vessels

Vehicle type-approval and the EEA and Switzerland

In many areas Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland adopt EU rules. This may be the case for vehicle type-approval. UK vehicle and component manufacturers doing business with the EEA or Switzerland should consider if they need to take steps to continue their business after 31 December 2020.

See also

This guidance expands on the vehicle type-approval technical notice published in September 2018.

Published 25 February 2019