The Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval Scheme

A Guide to the Approval of Non Type-Approved Motorcycles, Three Wheelers and Light Four Wheelers.

What is the Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval Scheme?

The Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval (MSVA) scheme is a pre-registration inspection for mopeds, motorcycles, three wheelers and quadricycles that have not been type-approved to European standards. The main purpose of the scheme is to ensure that these vehicles have been designed and constructed to modern safety and environmental standards before they can be used on public roads. The scheme entered into force on the 08 August 2003.

Why do we need MSVA?

MSVA checks that vehicles constructed for non-European Economic Area markets comply with British law. Even vehicles outwardly similar to European-specification models, but intended for other markets, can often be unsuitable for use in Britain without at least some modification. (For further information on importing a vehicle see the Department’s leaflet PI5 ‘How to Import your Vehicle into Great Britain’). MSVA recognises certain non-European technical standards as acceptable alternatives to the MSVA requirements.

MSVA also checks that the construction of amateur-built vehicles, rebuilt vehicles and vehicles using parts from a previously registered vehicle meet modern safety and environmental standards. It also provides an alternative to type approval for vehicles manufactured in very low volume.

What vehicles are within the scope of MSVA?

(a) two wheeled mopeds and motorcycles,
(b) three wheeled vehicles, and;
(c) light four wheeled vehicles.

Will MSVA affect you?

Generally, your vehicle will need to be approved under the MSVA scheme and issued with a Minister’s Approval Certificate (MAC) if it is up to 10 years old and is not covered by EC type approval (or similar national approval from another European Economic Area Member State that is equivalent to the technical requirements of GB Single Vehicle Approval).

MSVA will be applied to the following :

• an amateur built vehicle
• a vehicle manufactured in very low volume
• a vehicle manufactured using parts of a registered vehicle
• a rebuilt vehicle (mandatory if first licensing and registration required)
• an imported vehicle without type approval.

DVLA may also require radically altered vehicles and rebuilt vehicles to be examined.

Recognition of Foreign Single Approvals

If your vehicle has been singly approved by another EEA Member State to standards equivalent to those of British MSVA, it is eligible for a Ministers Approval Certificate on that basis. You must provide evidence of the actual standards to which the vehicle was tested by or on behalf of the authorities in question.

What is tested?

Most of the items inspected in the MSVA scheme are those that are tested when manufacturers apply for type-approval of mass-produced vehicles. The following table lists the items inspected.




How are the vehicles tested?

For MSVA, all the inspections are undertaken at selected testing stations operated by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), an executive agency of The Department for Transport. These tests can also be conducted by VOSA Examiners at “designated premises” if certain conditions are met. Please contact VOSA on the National Number for further information - 0300123 9000.

Although virtually all of the items tested are those in European Type Approval they are not tested in the same way. To keep the fee to a level affordable by individuals, the examiner will conduct an engineering assessment. This check will be in the form of either visual inspection or a simple test on the vehicle to ensure that it complies with the regulations.

The examination will be limited to parts of the vehicle which can be readily seen without dismantling. However, the presenter may be asked to open lockable compartments and remove engine covers, inspection/access panels, trims or carpeting. This is to allow access to items subject to examination. Consequently, because vehicles are inspected individually, the tests are not destructive or damaging in any way.

A Minister’s Approval Certificate (MAC) under MSVA is issued when the examiner is satisfied that the vehicle would meet the requirements of the regulations in relation to the design and construction of the vehicle. Unlike the MOT, the examination is not primarily concerned with vehicle condition (although poor condition may make it impossible to assess whether some construction requirements are met).

Conditions relating to the presentation of vehicles for test

The examination of a vehicle may be refused for any of the following reasons :

• the vehicle is not submitted for examination at the appropriate time and place appointed,
• the fee has not been paid,
• the vehicle cannot be driven or has insufficient fuel or oil to enable the test to be completed,
• the vehicle is presented in a dangerous or such a dirty condition that the test cannot be carried out,
• a load or items on the vehicle are not secured or removed as required,
• a proper examination cannot be carried out because any door, tailgate, boot lid, engine cover, fuel cap or other device designed to be readily opened cannot be opened,
• the condition of the vehicle (in the opinion of the examiner) is such that a proper examination of the vehicle would involve a danger of injury to any person or damage to the vehicle or any other property,
• the vehicle does not display, permanently, in an accessible position and readily legible, the required vehicle identification number, or
• the driver does not remain in the vehicle or its vicinity and operate the controls, etc. as requested.


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