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Tattooists, piercing and electrolysis

Acupuncture, Tattooing, Cosmetic Piercing, Electrolysis and Semi Permanent Skin Colouring


Acupuncture, Tattooing, Cosmetic Piercing, Electrolysis and Semi Permanent Skin Colouring

Licence summary

Anyone wishing to carry out "skin piercing"- acupuncture, tattooing, cosmetic piercing, ear piercing, body piercing, semi-permanent skin colouring, semi-permanent makeup or electrolysis - must register both the premises where the piercing is to be done, and each person who wants to perform the piercing (practitioner) with their local authority.

It is illegal to conduct any of the above activities unless the registration has been formally approved and a certificate of registration (licence) has been issued.

An application fee is payable at the time of first registration for the premises and practitioner. Further application and a supplementary fee are required to register different persons on your existing registration. Please note that the cost of registration is subject to annual review. Please check our fees before making payment.

Eligibility Criteria

You must provide specific information including details of your premises and any previous convictions for practising without a licence in this field. 

Regulation Summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence

Application Evaluation Process

There are no powers to refuse registration, but the practice is controlled through compliance with byelaws. In each case, the premises and equipment will be inspected to ensure they are suitable, that good hygiene is followed and sensible after-care instructions are given so as to minimise the health risks to customers.

The Registration Process

Registration covers each person at the registered address only. Should they conduct any skin piercing activities at other premises, they will need to register themselves at that premises also and pay the required fee.

Upon receipt of the completed application form and fee, a visit will be arranged by an officer from the Environmental Health Services department of your local authority, to ensure that the conditions specified in their skin piercing byelaws are met. If the officer is satisfied, a certificate of registration will be issued. This should be displayed ina prominent position on the premises where the activities take place.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact the CLAU by email to:


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Further Guidance

It is an offence to tattoo any person under the age of 18 years (the Tattooing of Minors Act 1969) regardless of parental consent.

A person under the age of 18 years may receive body piercing provided that you have received written permission from, or the treatment is performed in the presence of, the person's parent or guardian.

Nipple and genital piercing is prohibited on minors, regardless of parental consent.

The health of the client and the suitability of the treatment should be discussed prior to its being carried out.

Please use our public register to check if a practitioner or premise is registered.

Failed Application Redress

Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

Licence Holder Redress

Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

If a registration is suspended or cancelled the registration holder may appeal to the county court.

Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

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Get help at

Northamptonshire Licensing Partnership

Central Administration Unit
Cedar Drive,
Thrapston, Northants, NN14 4LZ
Telephone: 01832 742102

More information

  1. Acupuncture, Tattooing, Cosmetic Piercing, Electrolysis and Semi Permanent Skin Colouring (you are here)
  2. Application for Acupuncture, Tattooing, Cosmetic Piercing, Electrolysis and Semi Permanent Skin Colouring