Type approval

This chapter covers the requirements a vehicle’s components and/or systems must be tested and approved to, in order to comply with regulatory standards. It also explains approval marks, the application and which vehicles are typically exempt.

Updates for 2020:

  • A change to vehicle number plate standard BSAU 145e.

Updates for 2021:

  • The Road Vehicle (Approval) Regulations 2020.

  • Digital Radio for new category M Vehicles.

Download the type approval chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law


  • ECE type approval regulations.
  • EU type approval directives.
  • Type approval marks.
  • Application of type approval.
  • Vehicle type approval.
  • GB Goods Vehicle National Type Approval (GVNTA).
  • EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA).
    • Definitions.
    • Vehicles exempt from the historic GB Goods Vehicle Type Approval.
    • Multi-stage completed vehicles.
    • Requirements for trailers entering into service.
    • DVSA consent to supply requirements for type-approved trailers.
    • Exempt vehicles.

Download the type approval chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law

What is Type Approval?

Type approval is the system whereby the vehicle, its components or systems can be tested and approved for compliance with standards. UK tests are done by or on behalf of the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA). Type approval schemes have been in force in parts of Europe for many years to check parts and systems on new vehicles before registration. The aim now is to produce a common European Union scheme with the same standards.