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Tattooing and skin piercing licence

If you carry out any form of skin piercing or tattooing in the district you must have a licence issued by us.

What is a tattooing and skin piercing licence?

Under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 any person who carries on the practice of acupuncture or the business of tattooing, cosmetic piercing, semi permanent skin colouring or electrolysis must register with the local authority, the premises where the skin piercing business operates.

The purpose of registration is to ensure that basic health and safety standards are maintained in any premises where these activities are carried out and that local bylaws are complied with.

Applicants will be required to pay a one-off registration fee, which covers the cost of administration, the inspection of the premises on a periodic basis and the registration of one operator. These checks will ensure the necessary standards are being maintained.

Application forms and documents

Application for a tattooing and skin piercing licence

Application for special treatments for premises and one operator (PDF) [91KB]

Application to register an individual operator

Application for Registration of an Operator for the practice of Tattooing, Acupuncture, Semi-permanent Skin Colouring, Electrolysis and Cosmetic piercing (PDF) [83KB]


The current cost for registration of one or more operators can be viewed on our Licensing fees and charges webpage.

How to apply for a tattooing licence

Before you consider registering with the us you should have read and understood the Tattooing and body piercing guidance toolkit published by Public Health England.

If you then wish to register for the practice of tattooing please complete an application form and send it to us with two endorsed passport photographs and the application fee. 


During your inspection you will be inspected against the byelaws (PDF) [3MB] and you should ensure that your premises meets with the requirements.

As part of this you should ensure that you have an adequate supply of:

  • Cleaning chemicals
  • Soap, paper towels and hot water
  • Disposable gloves etc. 

You should also ensure that you have the following documents available:

Under age tattooing

It is an offence under Chapter 24 of the Tattooing of Minors Act 1969 to tattoo a person under the age of 18 except when the tattoo is performed for medical reasons by a duly qualified medical practitioner or be a person working under his/ her direction. You cannot obtain a tattoo under the age of 18 - not even with parents' permission.

If you are aware of a premises offering to tattoo persons under the age of 18 please report it to Essex Police on 101.

How to apply for a body piercing licence

You should also ensure that you have the following documents available:

Additional information

The following information should be passed to your customers:

Find out more about tattooing and skin piercing licences

Summary of the regulations relating to tattooing and skin piercing

Further information is available on GOV.UK


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