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Registering Cali conversion with DVLA

OllieCollieCali

OllieCollieCali

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Hi All,
Sorry fairly new here, and recently purchased my T5 California about 2 months ago so finding the club extremely useful to learn about the van and find out bits. Loving the van, and already enjoyed a few trips away in it.

I know most of you have all got "original" California's factory made as such, but mine originated as a 9 seater people carrier, and was converted professionally to the full California (assuming ocean?) by the previous owners some years ago. Currently classed as a "Van with windows"

Unfortunately they never got around to converting it to a "Motorhome" classification with the DVLA, so I have been in the process of trying to do this now, which I was told is a simple process of sending DVLA pictures of the interior and exterior as a camper van including all their specified requirements such as inside table, bed, cupboards etc. Completing their checklist and sending it off. Being the california, it easily meets all of the requirements they stated.

I wouldn't worry about converting it usually, but the road tax is currently £585 per year! and if registered as a campervan it is considerably less - more like £300.

I sent everything off, but after a month or so, I have had the log book sent back saying the application has been rejected! because it doesnt look like a motorhome from the outside!? These are the guidelines for the exterior features they look for -
Motor caravan external permanent features
This list describes the external features which are commonly seen in motor caravans, and it is intended to provide guidance on what DVLA expects to see when considering your application:
· 2 or more windows on at least one side of the main body (this does not include windows on the driver or passenger doors) to provide a reasonable amount of daylight into the living accommodation
- I have 5 x extra windows all the way around
· a separate door which provides access to the living accommodation of the vehicle (this excludes the driver and passenger doors); a window on this door counts as a separate window on the main body - sliding door on drivers side
· motor caravan-style graphics on both sides of the vehicle
· an awning bar attached to either side of the vehicle
- Fitted to drivers side
· a high-top roof (this does not include a pop-top elevating roof)
DVLA will need photographic evidence of the completed conversion.

I have emailed DVLA to explain I have most of the features listed, and asked them what they class as "Motor caravan style graphics"??? as that seems to be the only thing really it is missing, but they wont explain to me what I need to do to make it look more like a motorhome from the outside. I even sent links to 6/7 california's on auto trader that look identical (except colour and age) to ask why mine would be different.

I have attached their email response below if anyone is interested. All they are saying is it needs to look more like a motorhome from the outside, but wont say how.

So.... I was wondering if anyone has had similar? or can suggest ways to make it look more like a motorhome? It is literally only to take a picture and send it to them, then no one will ever see / question it again. I dont mind putting graphics / stickers on if need be even if it is just temporarily, but not sure what motor caravan style would be? I plan to fit a bike rack when I find one, although not sure that will count.

As you know you can easily see the cupboards through the windows from the outside (although admit you cant easily in the attached pics due to lighting), its got the electric and water outlets on the side, and the awning bar, and everyone I have asked has all said you can tell its a camper van.

Thanks a lot!!

Graeme


DVLA REPLY
Thank you for your reply to my letter, unfortunately I am not in a position to give you advice about what action you need to take to have the change of body type accepted. The list on the DVLA website is only meant for general guidance and there is no guarantee that the change will be accepted even if it has all the items listed.

Each application goes before a panel who decide if the vehicle meets the criteria for a change of body type.

The body type information held on the DVLA’s records must describe what a vehicle actually looks like in traffic. If the exterior of the vehicle does not look like a motor home, we will be unable to change the body type. However, vehicle keepers are still able to use the vehicle as a motor home provided any alterations made do not compromise the vehicle’s safety.
While the policy relating to the allocation of body types has not changed, following customer feedback we have reviewed the information provided on GOV.UK so that customers have greater clarity about the information they need and the actions they need to take when converting a vehicle into a motor caravan.


The DVLA receives many requests to change a vehicle’s body type to a motor caravan and these vehicles range in different shapes, sizes, and have various distinguishing features so we are unable to provide an exhaustive list of what we would expect to see on an application. However, we have provided guidance on GOV.UK to assist customers.
Vehicles that have been modified to be used as a motor caravan by only changing the interior of the vehicle will not qualify for a body type change on this basis alone.
You include a list of similar vehicles that have bee accepted as motor home caravans. It is possible that these were the result of applications that were made before our current rules were in force.

I am unable to comment on individual cases but it is ultimately the responsibility of the dealer/converter to ensure they allocate the correct body type when they apply for the first registration of a vehicle. The DVLA has a legal obligation to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the vehicle register so if any particulars shown on the vehicle registration certificate (V5C) are incorrect, the keeper should return this to the DVLA for amendment.

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GrumpyGranddad

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Yours is clearly a campervan @graemesign (and looks nice) so the DVLA decision seems unreasonable.

Maybe put some graphics/stickers on the van, resubmit your application and then once successful remove the graphics?
 
David Eccles

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good idea play the game have some graphics done and take off after..like it..
farcical really .. and jobsworths who just follow a script...
 
flying banana

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Spray it off white. Put a huge wheel clamp on it. Park it on your front lawn for a year or 2 to gather moss. Stick some nasty fake plastic vents all down the side. Then send them pics of that.
 
OllieCollieCali

OllieCollieCali

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Yours is clearly a campervan @graemesign (and looks nice) so the DVLA decision seems unreasonable.

Maybe put some graphics/stickers on the van, resubmit your application and then once successful remove the graphics?
Ah thankyou very much! Yes very pleased with it. Im happy to put some graphics / stickers on just for the photo, but not sure what they need to look like? What makes them camper van style? I did ask them but they wouldnt clarify or give me any examples.
Not sure if they would be stripes? Flowers? etc. You dont see many transporters with many graphics on the side apart from the odd stripes, or "California" "ocean" names.

Thanks again!
 
ArunAlec

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It might be worth a call to a couple of the VW converting companies to see what they do when registering their conversions, Bibo, Jerba etc.
 
GrumpyGranddad

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Have a look a Beatnik Decals. They’ve got some that clearly suggest campervan adventures.

5693F690-D2DB-4FC0-B813-279DB1195441.png
 
OGII

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This is nonsense.

I converted a lwb T5 and had it reclassified as a motorhome by dvla.

It makes no difference to VED (car tax) but does make insurance far cheaper than a van. Also gives you car speed limits, not the lower van ones.

Mine was bog standard white, no pop up roof, no graphics.

I did send images showing sink, built in cooker, water storage, beds made up/ in seat mode etc.

Literally one submission and accepted, circa 2011. I don't think much, if anything has changed since. That said the dvla reply does suggest something may have changed their stance over time.

You must have got unlucky with the person who dealt with it ( or maybe their backlogs are too big)

Good luck. It is possible.
 
Last edited:
Jodalo

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Re: the DVLA reply, “every application goes before a panel”. No wonder the public sector receives so much criticism.
 
OllieCollieCali

OllieCollieCali

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This is nonsense.

I converted a lwb T5 and had it reclassified as a motorhome by dvla.

It makes no difference to VED (car tax) but does make insurance far cheaper than a van. Also gives you car speed limits, not the lower van ones.

Mine was bog standard white, no pop up roof, no graphics.

I did send images showing sink, built in cooker, water storage, beds made up/ in seat mode etc.

Literally one submission and accepted, circa 2011. I don't think much, if anything has changed since. That said the dvla reply does suggest something may have changed their stance over time.

You must have got unlucky with the person who dealt with it ( or maybe their backlogs are too big)

Good luck. It is possible.
Ah thankyou! I wonder whether something may have changed since 2011, as I sent them all the pictures of the inside with both beds, cooker, sink etc etc They just seem to be set on the outside.
Like you say maybe they had a massive backlog with all the staycations and conversions, but mine still meets most the guidance.
 
OGII

OGII

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No problem.

I'd definitely try to speak to someone.

Unlike yours mine had no awning strips, no wind out awning, only windows in sliding door and matching panel on the other side and tailgate. Didn't even have the electric/ water panel in the bodywork (power flap was in the plastic trim below rear lights).
 
OllieCollieCali

OllieCollieCali

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It might be worth a call to a couple of the VW converting companies to see what they do when registering their conversions, Bibo, Jerba etc.
Thankyou! Good idea, theres a local company here that do custom conversions, so was going to chat to them this week and see if they suggest anything.
 
Chris_BLG_Ocean

Chris_BLG_Ocean

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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this is a very common thread on the T6 forum of people converting vans.

The problem you have is that it may have all the ‘California’ bits but it wasn’t converted by the factory, the reason California’s and some VW approved conversion companies managed to still get the motorhome/motorcaravan V5 is that the DVLA has assessed their manufacturing processes and made sure they are ISO 9001 compliant as well as have stringent QA (let’s not actually talk about VW’s QA ) so they can produce safe road vehicles.

Search the T6 forum and you will find the best you will get is a ‘Van with windows’ and not arguing with the DVLA will change this. But being converted from a 9 seater (Caravelle??) should already have the M1 classification for passenger speed limits on dual carriageways and Motorways


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steve_b

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My recollection is that this all changed about 18 months ago, much furore in vanlife forums. New rules are you need a permanent high top, so decals won't cut it no matter whether you use flowers, elephants or surfboards.

I know it is inconsistent but I think you are on a hiding to nothing in trying to get a T5 reclassified now, sorry
 
OllieCollieCali

OllieCollieCali

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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this is a very common thread on the T6 forum of people converting vans.

The problem you have is that it may have all the ‘California’ bits but it wasn’t converted by the factory, the reason California’s and some VW approved conversion companies managed to still get the motorhome/motorcaravan V5 is that the DVLA has assessed their manufacturing processes and made sure they are ISO 9001 compliant as well as have stringent QA (let’s not actually talk about VW’s QA ) so they can produce safe road vehicles.

Search the T6 forum and you will find the best you will get is a ‘Van with windows’ and not arguing with the DVLA will change this. But being converted from a 9 seater (Caravelle??) should already have the M1 classification for passenger speed limits on dual carriageways and Motorways


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Thats OK, Thankyou, I did wonder whether something had changed recently or not.

My main reason for changing it is that I was under the impression that it would change the vehicle Road Tax?? Its currently £585 per year - it is a 2.5 TDI, but I was told that it was almost halved as a motor home?

Is £585 the same as everyone else pays?

Im not sure if it was the Caravelle, but just checked the log book, and it is classed as M1 so its good for the speed limits.
 
OllieCollieCali

OllieCollieCali

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£280 - Private/Light Goods.
Thats what I had heard it would be, so £585 seemed a lot!

But just checked the tax classes, mine is 2006 2.5 litre, and says the CO2 is 251 G/KM which takes it into class L and so looks like £585 may be correct :-(
 
calikev

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The road tax will not change I’m afraid the rates go on emissions so adding a bed and a pop up roof will make no difference
 
OllieCollieCali

OllieCollieCali

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The road tax will not change I’m afraid the rates go on emissions so adding a bed and a pop up roof will make no difference
Ah thats a shame, but had a horrible feeling that might be the case. Thankyou! I did wonder why the previous owners had never gotten around to converting it. He told me he never got around to it, but it was quite simple to change it and then the Tax would drop down to £280. That was my only reason for trying to convert with the DVLA, but dont need to worry any more.

Thankyou everyone for all your advice and help! Admin can probably end this thread now I have the answer if they like.

Thankyou all again!
 
rod_vw

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Having followed many, many owners trying to persuade the DVLA to change the body type of Transporters to Motor Caravan I fear that you will not succeed.
The DVLA changed their process a few years ago and categorically refuse to accept our size of VW, however converted, as Motor Caravan body type. They will only change to Van with Windows.
As stated above and from personal experience there was no problem with this change five years ago but that is not so now.
You will find that such a vehicle is not restricted to van speed limits and nowadays insurance companies understand what you have and will insure appropriately although you may have to supply photographs to support your application.

If by any chance you do succeed please document all of the process and let the VW Transporter enthusiasts of the UK know as there will be an avalanche of applications to the DVLA on the back of your success.

Please be bold and pursue this with vigour to the benefit of many others.
 
rod_vw

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PS The tax should be £275, my 2016 LWB high roof T6 camper is. You are paying a different rate if the vehicle was originally registered as a Caravelle or similar which is now incorrect!

Please keep us posted.
 
Chris_BLG_Ocean

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PS The tax should be £275, my 2016 LWB high roof T6 camper is. You are paying a different rate if the vehicle was originally registered as a Caravelle or similar which is now incorrect!

Please keep us posted.

The rules changed in 2019 so that would be why yours is a camper on the V5 so f it was changed straight away after conversion.


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rod_vw

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The rules changed in 2019 so that would be why yours is a camper on the V5 so f it was changed straight away after conversion.


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No, the rules did not change, it was the way that the DVLA interpreted them that changed. That is what all the fuss has been about.
Yes, I appreciate that mine was converted prior to 2019 but the VED should still be £275 on either a vehicle with 'Motor Caravan' or 'Van with windows' on the V5C regardless of its conversion date or purchase date. As far as I am aware the the exception to this is vehicles over 3.5t which are even lower.
 
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