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Skin piercing and special treatments


If you want to carry out skin piercing special treatments - things like acupuncture, cosmetic piercing, electrolysis and semi-permanent skin colouring or tattooing - in the Borough, you must be registered with us and meet the relevant byelaws.

How do I register to provide skin piercing treatments?

You will need to register the:

  • business premises where the activity will be carried out
  • practitioner(s) who will be doing the activity

If you are providing more than one skin piercing activity, you will need to register for each activity.

To register a premises and/or a practitioner, complete the following:

Before we can process your application, you will need to provide copies of your public liability insurance and any relevant practitioner certificates. We will also check your premises before we issue a licence.

The registration process is the same if you intend to work from home or provide a mobile service.

How much does registration cost?

Skin piercing registration fees
Premises registration £305.00
Personal registration£100.00
Conventions£80.00 per attendee, or an event fee of £275.00
(whichever is greater)
Variation to personal licence£40.00
Amendment to premises schedule£40.00


What happens next?

We will arrange a visit after receipt of your application and supporting documentation.

The visit will:

We will issue a certificate upon:

  • approval of the practices
  • confirmation of compliance with the byelaws

You can start to trade as soon as you get your certificate. You must display the certificate and byelaws at your premises. 

Can the Council refuse to register a premises or operator?

No - but we will inspect your premises to make sure you meet the required standards laid out in the byelaws (PDF) [104KB] (opens new window) .

If you breach the byelaws and fail to act on our advice we can take legal action, including prosecution.

Are there any other laws or rules I should be aware of?

It is illegal to tattoo someone under the age of 18. There is no minimum piercing age, but it could be regarded as assault if you pierce someone under the age of 16 without consent from a parent or guardian.

Do I need to register again if I move premises?

Can I change my certificate to my married name?

Yes, you can.

Please send a copy of your marriage certificate by email to

How do I replace a lost certificate?

Use our skin piercing licence application form. We make a small charge to cover our costs.

Do I need to register to provide treatments at events in the Borough?

Yes - use our skin piercing licence application form. You won't need to re-register if you return for other events in the future.

What training do I need to start a skin piercing business?

You should get advice from the relevant trade association. You might find the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health's Tattooing and body piercing guidance toolkit (opens new window) useful.

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