National Type Approval in the UK

This page was last updated on 14th April 2022

Provisional GB Scheme

Since 1 January 2021, Great Britain has operated a Provisional GB Type Approval Scheme covering motor vehicles which are registered for use on the roads in Great Britain. The scope of the scheme currently extends to;

Vehicle Type Category
Motorcycles and quadricycles Category L
Passenger Vehicles Category M
Goods Vehicles Category N
Agricultural and Forestry Tractors Category T

Existing EU type approvals

Existing EU type approvals issued by EU-27 Type Approval Authorities (i.e. excluding UK issued ‘e11’ type approvals[1]) are no longer automatically accepted in GB for the purpose of registering M, N, L and T category vehicles for use on the road. Holders of EU-27 Type Approvals must apply for a GB provisional approval.

Exceptions

For vehicles which were already in the UK on 31 December 2020, EU-27 approvals will be accepted, as long as they remain technically valid (e.g., as regards emissions etc.).

Due to provisions in the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP), EU approvals can still be used for placing on the market, sale and registration of vehicles, components and separate technical units in Northern Ireland (NI). Businesses in NI may also qualify for unfettered access allowing them to sell products into GB on the basis of an EU approval.

Products which do not usually require registration for use on the road, i.e., trailers, agricultural trailers, engines for non-road mobile machinery and components, may continue to be placed on the market with existing valid EU approvals until 1 January 2023.  Please note this date was previously 1 January 2022 but a 12-month extension has been approved.

Introduction of Provisional GB type approval

The scheme took effect 1 January 2021. From this date manufacturers holding an EU Type Approval require a Provisional GB Type Approval to place M, N, L and T category vehicles on the market in GB or to register vehicles for use on the roads in GB.

Issue of Provisional GB Type Approvals

To obtain Provisional GB Type Approvals, manufacturers already in possession of an EU type approval (except UK issued ‘e11’ approvals) will need to request a job number and provide VCA with:

  • a list of EU whole vehicle type approvals for vehicle types which they intend to place on the market in GB
  • the corresponding (and current) EU type approval certificates

To assist with traceability, Provisional GB Type Approval numbers will be based on the EU type approval number. To differentiate between EU and Provisional GB Type Approvals the ‘e’ at the beginning of EU type approval numbers will replaced with a ‘p’ for Provisional GB Type Approvals.

Example of approval number format:

e1*2018/858*02349*00 → p1*2018/858*02349*00

This example represents the progression of a whole vehicle type approval issued in Germany (e1…) through to a Provisional GB Type Approval (p1…).

The Provisional GB Type Approval number does not need to be marked on a vehicle or certificate of conformity.

Each successful application for Provisional GB Type Approval will result in a communication on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport which specifies their Provisional GB Type Approval number(s).

The communication will be regarded as the Type Approval Certificate and will contain the following information:

  • Provisional GB Type Approval number(s)
  • Validity of at least two years (or less if the EU type approval on which it is based loses validity in the EU before two years has expired)
  • A requirement for the manufacturer to notify us at VCA of extensions to the underlying EU type approvals (so that the Provisional GB Type Approvals can be managed appropriately)

We retain the right to request further documentation or carry out a physical inspection in a case of doubt about the validity of an EU type approval certificate.

Provisional Approval for vehicles with special features

In the case of EU type approvals containing the following special features, more information may be required before Provisional GB type approval can be granted. Please contact TSG@vca.gov.uk if any further information is required on the processes set out below.

Eco-innovation(s)

Once vehicle types are approved to the full GB type approval scheme, they will require separate GB Eco-innovation authorisation alongside any EU authorisation held. In the meantime, EU Eco-innovations can continue to be used.

In the case of Provisional Approval applications containing Eco-innovations, VCA will engage with manufacturers to confirm plans for seeking GB Eco-innovation approval ahead of the transition to full GB type approval at a later date.

Vehicle(s) categorised as a special purpose vehicle in the special group (“SG” code)

Special purpose vehicles categorised by the “SG” code can benefit from significant exemptions to type approval requirements if incompatible with their special function.

As this categorisation can theoretically be applied to a wide range of vehicles, the framework regulation permits Approval Authorities to request additional information from a manufacturer to demonstrate that a vehicle type needs to be categorised with the “SG” code prior to approval being granted.

In these cases, VCA will engage with manufacturers to determine whether the “SG” categorisation applied in the EU type approval is in line with VCA and Department for Transport policy for the vehicles in question, and therefore whether Provisional GB type approval can be granted.

Article 39 New Technology or Concept Approval

Under the obligations of the UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement; vehicle types utilising an Article 39 New Technology or Concept approval are eligible for Provisional GB type approval once the approval in question has been authorised by the European Commission, i.e. is no longer a provisional EU type approval.

However, given the nature of these approvals it is necessary for VCA to assess whether “the new technology or new feature creates a risk for human health, safety or the environment” before Provisional GB type approval can be granted. In this assessment, specific consideration will be given to issues that may be unique to GB, e.g., compliance with traffic rules.

UNECE R157 Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) Approval

The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 (AEVA) creates an insurance framework for automated vehicles (AVs) by amending the Road Traffic Act. As part of achieving this, AEVA requires the Secretary of State to create a list of vehicles which are capable of ‘safely driving themselves’. Vehicles which are approved to UNECE R157 and include the United Kingdom within their Operational Design Domain (ODD) should meet the threshold of self-driving and therefore be added to the Secretary of State’s List.

VCA will carry out a thorough review of all approvals submitted which include ALKS, in order that the decision to list the vehicles based on them having a UNECE R157 approval can be confirmed as valid in each case.

This process is without prejudice of the UK’s mutual recognition obligations under the UNECE 1958 Agreement but serves to confirm the following points:

  • The vehicle type has been approved with the United Kingdom in its ODD
  • The documentation includes adequate evidence that the vehicle can comply with GB traffic rules
  • The documentation includes adequate evidence that the system has been sufficiently validated in GB
  • The documentation does not give any indication that VCA interpretations concerning UNECE R157 have been contravened
  • Details are provided for how to access and download DSSAD data
  • Details are given for the DSSAD retention period when operating in the UK

Costs

VCA will charge;

  • £110 for creating new Provisional GB Type Approvals where the underlying EU approval is a new approval (i.e., the extension number is at *00)
  • £151 for creating new Provisional GB Type Approvals where the underlying EU approval extension number is not at *00
  • £151 for extensions to Provisional GB Type Approvals (i.e., the underlying EU approval extension number is not at *00)

Motor Vehicles

Provisional GB type approval currently only applies to whole vehicle type approvals. This means that it is not necessary to convert EU type approvals which exist for vehicle systems, separate technical units or components which form part of the whole vehicle type approval.

Vehicles with provisional GB type approval must continue to be provided with their original EU Certificate of Conformity and be fitted with the original EU statutory plate.

Where vehicles have an EU type approval obtained using the multi-stage approval process, a provisional GB type approval will only be mandated for the final stage of production, i.e., complete or completed vehicles. This means that an EU type approval to cover the base vehicle (whether incomplete or complete), or an intermediate stage need not be converted.

Non-Road Mobile Machinery, Trailers and Components

Manufacturers can continue to place these products on the market in GB based on their existing valid EU approvals, or appropriate UNECE approvals in the case of engines for non-road mobile machinery or vehicle components, until the 1 January 2023 when Provisional GB type approval will become compulsory for these products. These categories of product will then become subject to the requirements of the full scheme from 1 July 2024, or when their Provisional Approval expires.

Frequently Asked Questions

For additional information which may not be listed here, please refer to our FAQ page here