This website works best using cookies. Allow cookies?


Licences - Skin Piercing and Tattooing


The Council's Licensing Service administers this recently introduced licensing scheme. If you operate, or intend to start, a tattoo or skin piercing business, e.g. ear piercing, acupuncture or any type of body piercing, you require a licence to set up or continue in business.

Skin piercing includes acupuncture, cosmetic body piercing, electrolysis and tattooing. Tattooing is the insertion into the skin of any colouring material designed to leave a semi-permanent or permanent mark including micro pigmentation. An exemption from the licensing regime is provided where a regulated health care professional carries out the activity.

Fees for a licence application and renewal received after 1 April 2014:

  • Initial Grant (1 Year) = £126.25
  • Renewal (1 Year) = £94.13

An application form and guidance notes are available from the links in the Downloadable Documents section below. Alternatively, further details can be obtained by contacting Licensing Services - see Contact details at the right hand side of this page.


updated - 2 April 2014

Frequently Asked Questions

Click a question to see the answer.

By law, what information on skin piercing and tattooing must be provided to the client/potential client?

You must provide information in an easy-to-understand format, to clients/potential clients to explain: the process of the skin piercing and tattooing, the risks of the procedure, and the after-care requirements of the procedure.

Does the skin piercing/tattooing need to be carried out in a separate room?

Yes, separate rooms are required for the waiting area and the carrying out of skin piercing and tattooing.

Since when has there been a requirement to licence skin piercing activities?

Legislation came into force on 1 April 2006, which requires all skin piercing activities to be licensed.

What are the restrictions on who can get skin piercing and tattoos?

You must not pierce or tattoo any person under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You must not pierce the skin of anyone under the age of 16 unless accompanied by a person who has parental rights and responsibilities in respect of that child and who has given written consent to the piercing. You must not tattoo any person under the age of 18, regardless of parental consent.

What conditions will be examined before I will be considered for a skin piercing licence?

The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Skin Piercing and Tattooing) Order 2006 covers structure, disinfection and sterilisation, age of client and training of piercer/tattooist. We also adopt additional conditions relevant to the area and to assist in the protection of public health.

What skin piercing activities have to be licensed?

Any skin piercing activities need to be licensed. These include acupuncture; cosmetic body piercing; electrolysis and tattooing.