Ministers in Northern Ireland have chosen to exempt all light vehicles from MOT for a full calendar year. 

Exemptions lasting for four months had been issued prior to the coronavirus pandemic due to problems with the number of working lifts and authorised testers available to conduct the tests.  The current crisis has lead to the system to shut down almost entirely.

Unlike England, Scotland and Wales where the MOT is administered by the DVSA and conducted at thousands of private authorised testing sites, the MOT in NI is only conducted through a small number of Government run sites. Prior to coronavirus it was not uncommon to have to wait months for an appointment, only for it to be cancelled. 


The Stormont-based Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon told the Press Association newswire: “I have decided the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) will continue to issue temporary exemption certificates (TECs) to those vehicles, private cars, goods vehicles, trailers or motorcycles until their normal MOT date. This means a vehicle will get an exemption for one year which will bring it back into the system when there is capacity to test it”. 


As CAT understands the current situation, vehicles that have had an MOT expire at any point in the last 12 months will be eligible for the extension and therefore can be taxed. However, it will not be possible to test, and therefore tax a car that has not had an MOT for longer, for example a vehicle that has been in storage that the owner wishes to return to the road, until testing resumes. 

Published by Greg Whitaker

Editor of CAT Magazine and an experienced motoring journalist @GregWhitaker5

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  1. This is a worrying announcement, extending by 6 months was understandable when lock down was implemented, it gave those with a MOT due during lock down some breathing space to get the MOT completed. Extending it to a year is crazy. Forgoing your MOT or vehicle service when you are actively using your vehicle is inadvisable. Not only could your vehicle not be roadworthy you could be facing a much inflated repair bill due to the lack of maintenance. I would foresee an increase in breakdowns and roadside repairs. I can’t see how this announcement is good for anyone.