Go to navigation

Skin piercing and tattooing

Anyone who wishes to carry out:

  • acupuncture
  • cosmetic piercing
  • ear piercing
  • electrolysis
  • tattooing
  • semi-permanent makeup

must register with the council. Registration is granted in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 as amended by the Local Government Act 2003.

Anyone found to be running an unregistered business could have their equipment seized and face a fine.


Registration consists of two elements: the person and the place where the skin piercing takes place. From 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 a fee of £290.00 must be paid to the council. This is a single payment and there is no annual renewal fee.

The fee for amending an existing registration certificate is £48.40.

The legislation does not extend to the practice of the skin piercing techniques listed above by or under the supervision of a person who is registered as a medical practitioner or dentist. Neither does it extend to premises on which these activities are carried on by or under the supervision of such person.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard about your application within the 10-day target period, please contact the council. You can do this online if you apply through UK welcomes business or by using the contact details below.

Failed application redress

Please contact the council in the first instance, using the details below.

Registration holder redress

Please contact the council in the first instance, using the details below.

Consumer complaint

If you have a complaint about a someone carrying out these procedures, you should first contact the practitioner, preferably in writing. If that does not work and if you are located in the UK, CAB Adviceguide will give you advice. From outside the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress

If there are problems such as noise or pollution or if one licence holder complains about another, please use the contact details below.

Tattooing of Minors Act 1969

It is against the law to tattoo a person who is under the age of 18. Parental consent cannot be given. If a person is tattooed and they are under the age of 18, the tattoo artist could face having a criminal record, a fine, and could be at risk of losing their registration if they are registered with the council.

New Tattoo Hygiene Rating System

Tattooists and semi-permanent makeup practitioners across Medway can now sign up to a new hygiene rating scheme.

The Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme is a voluntary initiative and is open to registered tattooists and semi-permanent makeup artists in Medway and across the whole of Kent.

Those who sign up to the scheme will be able to showcase how clean and hygienic their operations are by displaying a certificate and window sticker with their hygiene rating clearly shown.

This will give prospective customers the confidence that practitioners are well trained and are running a clean and safe business.

Businesses wishing to find out more or to sign up to the scheme should email foodandsafety@medway.gov.uk

If you would like further information and advice or to report any of the following you can contact the Food and Safety Team on the contact details below:

  • a person working from an unregistered premises, such as the home
  • if your tattoo has become infected
  • you have been tattooed and are under the age of 18


For more information contact Food and Safety Team by telephone: 01634 333333 or by email: foodandsafety@medway.gov.uk

Write to: Food and Safety Team, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR