Individual vehicle approval

You can use the individual vehicle approval (IVA) scheme if you’re making or importing a single, or a very small number of:

  • passenger cars
  • goods vehicles
  • buses and coaches
  • trailers
  • special purpose vehicles, such as vehicles specially designed to hold a wheelchair

You cannot use the individual vehicle approval (IVA) scheme if your vehicle has been registered in the UK before. You need to use voluntary IVA instead.

If your vehicle is damaged

If your vehicle is classed as ‘seriously damaged’ you cannot register or tax it with DVLA. You will not be refunded any money you spent on vehicle approval.

Serious damage means the vehicle cannot be repaired. For UK vehicles this means it’s a category A or B insurance write-off.

For imported vehicles, it might say something like ‘statutory write-off’, ‘scrapped’ or ‘non-repairable’ on the registration certificate.

Check with the registration authority for the country the vehicle is from to find out if the vehicle is ‘seriously damaged’.

If it is not ‘seriously damaged’, ask them to provide evidence of this.

Basic and normal IVA

There are 2 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 will not 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

Read the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) guide on the IVA scheme for more on these categories.

If you do not have one of these vehicles you will have to apply for normal IVA.

Normal IVA

Normal IVA involves a more detailed inspection. Vehicles have to meet extra standards and you’ll have to provide documentary evidence.

How to show your vehicle meets IVA standards

To find out the standards your vehicle must meet, read:

Modified goods vehicles

You can use the IVA scheme to get approval for goods vehicles that have been modified.

Read the DVSA guide on IVA for modified goods vehicles to find out how changes are approved.

Model reports

One way of proving your vehicle is compliant is by showing it’s the same specification as another vehicle (a ‘master vehicle’) that’s been proved compliant. You do this using a model report.

If a model report has already been produced for your exact model of vehicle, you may be able to use it for a fee. Look for it on the DVSA list of model reports and their owners.

Otherwise, you’ll need to pay for your own tests to be carried out. These must be done by an authorised provider of ‘designated technical services’.

For more information on model reports, see part 11 of the DVSA guide on the IVA scheme.

How to apply for individual vehicle approval

  1. If your vehicle does not have one, find out how to get a vehicle identification number (VIN) in the vehicle registration guidance.

  2. Choose a test centre.

  3. Download and fill in the application form for your type of vehicle.

  4. Download and fill in a seat belt anchorage compliance form.

  5. If your vehicle is amateur built (for example a kit car), download and fill in an amateur built declaration form.

  6. Submit the forms using the apply for individual vehicle approval service.

DVSA will usually offer you an inspection within 20 working days, at the test location you’ve chosen (wherever possible). They will issue an individual approval certificate (IAC) if your vehicle passes. You’ll need this certificate when you register your vehicle.

You have to pay a fee for DVSA to inspect your vehicle.

Appeal against a refusal

You can appeal if your vehicle does not pass its inspection and you’re not satisfied with the decision. The vehicle will be re-examined by an independent inspector.

You must make your appeal within 14 days of the decision and you’ll have to pay a fee. This will be refunded, either partially or fully, if your appeal is successful.

You must not modify the vehicle before the appeal inspection.

You can appeal by downloading and filling in the IVA notice of appeal.

Read part 8 of the DVSA guide on the IVA scheme for more information about appeals.