A tattoo is a marking made by inserting ink into the layers of skin to change the pigment for decorative or other reasons. Tattoos are a type of decorative body modification. Types of semi-permanent skin colouring and skin micropigmentation are also classed as tattooing.
Since tattoo instruments come in contact with blood and bodily fluids, diseases may be transmitted if the instruments are used on more than one person without being sterilised. Infections that can be transmitted by the use of unsterilised tattoo equipment or contaminated ink include surface infections of the skin, herpes simplex virus, tetanus, staphloccus, fungal infections, some forms of hepatitis, tuberculosis and HIV. It is also illegal to tattoo people who are under 18 years of age under The Tattooing of Minors Act 1969 (enforced by the Police).
If you are thinking about tattooing other people, whether at home or in a business premises, you will need to register with the Local Authority where you are normally based. You will need to register yourself and the premises where your business is normally carried on and for each additional person who operates with you. If you operate at more than one premises, even if this is in a different Local Authority's area, you will need to register each additional person at the premises in which you operate. If you occasionally tattoo someone in their home, at their request, you do not need to register at that place but you will still need to be registered at a premises where you normally operate from.
The registration form is available below.
If you are still unsure whether you need to be registered, please contact us.
There is a one-off premises registration fee for yourself and your premises for the business of tattooing. Additional persons are charged at a reduced rate. The registration fees normally changes annually so for this year's fee please view the fee information.
The following statements outline the costs in registering:
You need to register any premises in which activities which require registration take place (see "premises fee"). If you wish to undertake additional activities that require registration at the premises you do not need to re-register the premises but you will need to register each person undertaking that activity (the "person fee")
You need to re-register any premises for each of the activities undertaken at the premises if the premises changes ownership (see "premises fee")
You need to register each person at each of your premises (see the "person fee"). For each application, you can register as many activities as you wish, however, you will need to apply again if you wish to register the same person for additional activities for which they are not already registered.
You need to re-register each person if they undertake any additional activities to which they are already registered (see "person fee").
This registration is required if you wish to run premises for the business of tattooing or semi-permanent skin colouring.
No, your registration cannot be refused by the Council; however you may be subject to enforcement action if you do not comply with the necessary standards laid out in by law and bylaws (see attachment at bottom of page).
The registration lasts as long as the business proprietor or operation of the business does not change. If a new person takes over the business or the premises changes, then you will need to re-register. Please contact us if you are no longer running the business using the contact details below.
You can apply by any of the following means:
You can send us a completed and signed application form (available below) together with a cheque for the correct amount send it to us.
You can send us a completed and signed application form (available below) and we will contact you to take payment by debit/credit card.
PLEASE READ THE BYELAWS BEFORE YOU REGISTER (see below PDF)
We aim to process your application within 21 days. Please contact us if you have any queries about the process us.
Trading must not begin until the application has been processed by the Council and a certificate is on display in the premises. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within 21 days, please contact us.
The legislation does not require the council to keep a public register of tattooists, however we are working on making one available online. In the meantime, each registered tattooist and premises must display a registration certificate in a prominent place. If you do not know whether a tattooist or premises carrying out tattooing is registered, please contact us.
If you are concerned about the standards or practices of a local business or the business does not appear to be registered please use the Cosmetic/Beauty Business Advice and Complaints form.
For further information, please see our Enforcement web page.
If you feel we have failed to provide you with good service or are concerned about the progress of your application, please contact us and we will endeavour to resolve any concerns you may have. We also have a formal complaints procedure.
There are a number of specific guidance documents available:
Guidance on the use and purchase of bench-top sterilisers is available from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The document and updates are available to download.
The Council's bylaws (also available at the bottom of this page). Set the minimum legal standard and are made under the The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982
Health and Safety Guidance on Health and Safety issues related to body piercing, tattooing and scarification (LAC 76/2) - PDF - aimed at Local Authority Enforcement Officers but has some very useful general guidance, particularly in the Appendices.
Health and Safety Guidance on Cosmetic Treatment (LAC 14/1) - this is aimed at Local Authority Enforcement Officers but has some very useful guidance on legislation and equipment.
If you would like further advice about the standards or practices within a local business please use the Cosmetic/Beauty Business Advice and Complaints form.
For more Enquiries please use our online Form below.