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Acupuncture, tattoo, piercing or electrolysis registration

You need to register with us if you want to carry out activities which pierce the skin. It's against the law for you to carry out these activities without registration from us.

Do I need to register my business?

You'll need to register with us if your premises are used for the following types of skin piercing:

  • Acupuncture
  • Tattooing
  • Semi-permanent skin colouring
  • Cosmetic skin piercing
  • Electrolysis
  • Micro blading
  • Any other activity which pieces the skin, for example wet cupping

Please note: we don't accept applications to register for extreme activities such as eyeball tinting, extraocular implants, corneal implants or ashes in tattoo ink.

How can I register?

To apply for acupuncture, tattoo, piercing or electrolysis registration:

  1. Complete the registration form below and send it to us using the contact details provided on the form. Either the owner or the operator of the premises can complete the registration form.
  2. Once we've received the form, we'll ring you so you can pay the registration fee by credit or debit card. The fee is £155 for each person you want to register and for each activity you want to register for. If you don't hear from us within 14 days, please contact us using the details on this page.
  3. When your payment has been processed, we'll arrange a suitable time to inspect your premises to check you meet all the conditions below. If our visit shows you meet all the conditions, we'll register you for that activity.
Registration form for tattooing, acupuncture, piercing or electrolysis (174kb pdf)

What conditions does my business need to meet?

Our inspector will check that:

  1. Your premises meet general health and safety requirements. View the healthy and safety basics on Health and Safety Executive

  2. Your premises meet the following conditions:
    • All surfaces in any part of the premises used by clients are kept clean and in good condition.
    • All furniture and fittings in the treatment area are kept clean and in good condition.
    • Table, sofas, seats and other items of furniture used in the treatment area have a smooth, impervious surface which is regularly wiped down with disinfectant and covered by a disposable paper sheet. This should be changed after each customer.
    • A 'no smoking' sign is clearly displayed. 

  3. Your staff meet the following conditions:
    • Any overalls worn by staff are clean and in good condition.
    • Hands and nails of staff are kept clean.
    • Any open cuts, wounds, sores or boils are suitably covered by a waterproof dressing.
    • Staff aren't smoking or drinking in treatment area.
    • Staff have sole use of washing facilities that provide hot and cold running water, soap and a nail brush.

  4. Your equipment meet the following conditions:
    • Any needle, metal instrument or item of equipment you use in treatment are in a sterile condition and kept sterile until they're used.
    • If you don't use pre-sterilised items then you need to have adequate facilities to sterilise items.

If you need guidance to meet these conditions:

Does tacit consent apply?

No, we must process your application before it can be granted.

How long will my registration last?

Your registration will last for as long as you work in this area and will cover you and the premises you work in.

What should I do if my application is unsuccessful?

If your application is unsuccessful, please contact us in the first instance using the contact details provided on this page.

If you disagree with our decision, you can appeal to your local magistrates' court.  

How can I report an unregistered tatoo artist?

A scratcher is someone who isn't registered to tattoo and may be doing so from unregistered premises. This is illegal and presents a serious risk of infection.

To report a scratcher, please complete the following form and send it to us using the contact details on the form.

Tattoo hygiene rating scheme

The tattoo hygiene rating scheme stopped running in July 2019.

Advice for getting a tattoo

If you're considering getting a tattoo, you may benefit from the following advice.

  • Take your time to choose the design for your tattoo. Before booking yourself in, take some time to make sure you know you really do want to get this tattoo.
  • Only use a tattoo shop registered with the local authority as their premises have been inspected and shown to be a good standard. If you're not sure whether a tattoo shop in the borough is registered, you can contact us using the details on this page.
  • Research the tattoo shop where you're thinking of having your tattoo done. You can read online reviews and visit the shop in person. Make sure you're happy with the premises and you feel comfortable in the tattoo shop.
  • Find the right artist for you. Every artist in a tattoo shop should have a portfolio of their work so you can see if their style matches what you're looking for.
  • After care is critical. Make sure you get information from the tattooist on how best to look after it to avoid getting an infection.
Watch 'things to know before getting a tattoo' video - created by the NHS, this video gives more information on how to get a tattoo safely.

Related pages

Contact

0300 303 8871

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-5.30pm.
Closed for training Monday 11am-11.30am.

Public Protection Service
Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU