Skin Piercing and Tattooing Licence
In terms of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, West Lothian Council operates a licensing scheme which is required to carry on a business where tattooing or skin piercing is being provided. The scheme is administered by the Council's Licensing Team.
The impact of the Coronavirus (COVID -19) continues to have a significant impact on the processing of licence applications.
If you need to get in touch with the Licensing Team, please do so by email to the following address: email@example.com
Email enquiries will be prioritised and responded to on a priority/urgent basis. We cannot accept phone calls at present.
In the meantime, applications for licences and permits (with the exception of hire car applications, please refer to the hire car webpages for details of how to make these) should be posted to the
West Lothian Council,
along with cheques or postal orders for payment of any fee required and copies of all required supporting documentation.
If you are unable to post your application and fee please contact the Licensing Team by email.
Please be aware that there will likely be delays in the processing of applications due to changes in working conditions at present.
If you are an event organiser you should note that when possible applicants will be able to email amended applications for events which have been postponed due to Covid-19 as long as the details of the event remain exactly the same and only the event date is changing, any other changes to event details will require a new application to be submitted in the usual manner.
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.
The law provides that a licence is required to carry on business providing tattooing or 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. More details can be found in the REHIS guide (produced by the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland) can be found in the downloads section of this page. This guide provides guidance for local authorities and is also useful for applicants and licence holders to understand the standards which they will be expected to meet.
A licence will be required by businesses or self-employed individuals operating either independently within premises or in a peripatetic manner (activities must be carried out from particular premises listed in the licence application). See section 3.1 of the REHIS guide regarding the licensing requirements.
Regulated health care professionals carrying on the activity are exempt from licensing.
If you want to apply for a licence you must submit an application form along with the required documents and the appropriate fee.
Application forms which have guidance notes attached to them and a list of fees are available from the downloads section of this page. You should read the guidance notes carefully before completing your application form.
There are two separate application forms. One is for persons applying for a licence as an individual and the other is to be completed by applicants who are companies, partnership or organisations.
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.
Any member of the public can make an objection or representation about a skin piercing or tattooing licence application unless the application is for a temporary licence.
A guidance note explaining how an objection or representation can be made can be viewed here
You will contacted by an Environmental Health Officer to arrange an inspection of your premises. The officer requires to produce a report for the Licensing Team regarding your application. The report will cover all the requirements contained in paragraph 5 of Schedule 1 of The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Skin Piercing and Tattooing) Order 2006. The report will also suggest which conditions should apply.
Applications which do not attract any adverse comments/objections or any suggested conditions in addition to the standard conditions are granted by the Chief Solicitor using 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 fifteen months in which to determine your application however the majority of applications are determined within 60 days.
You should notify us as soon as you can if your details change or any of the information given in your application becomes out of date due to a change in your circumstances.
If you no longer wish to hold your licence you can surrender it to the council at any time by returning your licence together with a letter stating that you wish to surrender it. If you surrender your licence it will cease to have effect.
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.