Minimum vectoring altitude (MVA)
Minimum vectoring altitude (MVA) is defined as follows: "The lowest altitude within controlled airspace which may be used for the vectoring of IFR flights, taking into account the minimum safe height and airspace structure within a specified area." Or in other words: The minimum vectoring altitude (MVA) is the lowest level an air traffic controller may assign to a pilot in normal operations.

Minimum altitude
Strictly speaking, the term "minimum altitude" does not really exist even though it is often used in everyday language. In normal operations, two different altitudes are relevant to an IFR flight – and this is what we are talking about here: the minimum safe height/altitude and the minimum vectoring altitude (MVA).

The minimum safe height for IFR flights is defined as at least 300 m (1000 ft) above the highest obstacle located within 8 km of the aircraft, except for take-off and landing.