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Skin Piercing and Tattooing Licence

West Lothian Council operates a skin piercing & tattooing licensing scheme which is administered by the Council's Licensing Team.

The Team are able to provide general guidance on the scheme but cannot assist you to complete your application form or provide legal advice on whether a licence is required. You should seek legal advice from a solicitor or advice centre if you are unsure as to whether you require a licence. 

Which premises require a licence from the Council?

In terms of Section 44(1)(b),2 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act, 1982, a skin piercing & tattooing licence is required to carry on business providing tattooing/skin piercing

Skin piercing includes acupuncture, cosmetic body piercing or electrolysis, and 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 on the activity.

How do you apply for a licence?

If you want to apply for a skin piercing and tattooing licence you must submit an application form along with the required documents and the appropriate fee, details of these can be found in the guidance notes attached to the application.

All applications are copied to the Council's advisors who can recommend that conditions in addition to the standard conditions detailed on this page are attached to the licence when granted. If you do not want to accept any recommended conditions then the application would be referred to the Licensing Committee for a decision to be made regarding which conditions will apply to your licence. Mandatory background checks will be carried out on all applicants by Police Scotland and applicants' details will be retained on computer.  You will be contacted once vetting is complete.

How will my application be decided?

Applications which do not attract any adverse comments/objections are granted by the Chief Solicitor under delegated powers. All other applications require to be referred to the Licensing Committee for determination. You will be advised if your application is being referred to the Licensing Committee. The Committee meets on a monthly basis.

We have twelve months in which to determine your application however the majority of applications are determined within 60 days.

How do you complain about licence holders?

Complaints regarding licence holders may be made to the Licensing Team. These should be made in writing by email or letter providing full details of the nature of the complaint and sent to the Licensing Team using the contact details box.

Complaints regarding unlicensed skin piercing & tattooists should be made to Police Scotland by calling 101.

How much are the application and renewal fees?

More information regarding  pdf icon current application fees [20kb]​ 

Where can I get an application form?

Application forms which have guidance notes attached to them are available to download from the Related Documents section on this page.