Skin Piercing Establishments

Unless registered as a medical practitioner, a person must be registered with the Council before carrying out:

  • cosmetic piercing
  • tattooing
  • electrolysis
  • semi-permanent skin colouring
  • acupuncture

Exemptions to the requirement to register are:

  • Skin piercing carried out under the direct supervision of a registered medical practitioner (MD) and/or a registered dentist
  • With the exception of acupuncture, skin piercing carried out as a hobby (not a business there being no financial gain or reward)

Both the person and the premises where they practice must be registered. A one-off fee is payable for both personal registrations and for the business premises.  So if you are starting a business you will need to pay both fees.

The aim of registration is to ensure premises are clean and clients are safe.

If you are moving into a premises already registered you will still need to register it as you are a new business

To register you must complete an online application, pay a fee and then you will get an inspection to check that your procedures and premises are suitable. Registration and certificates will then be issued which must be displayed on site. 

Separate certificates for ‘premises’ and ‘practitioners’ will be issued upon successful application.

Please be aware a separate registration form and fee must be submitted for each district you wish to operate in.

If you wish to register a skin piercing business in Babergh, and in Mid Suffolk, you'll need to submit a registration form for each district. You will also need to pay a fee for each district.

Registration for Skin Piercing (online application form)

Read our current fees and charges

Byelaws and legislation

The premises and the practitioner must be compliant with the Byelaws, H&S requirements and Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982

All practitioners are advised to undertake some form of infection control training.

Changes to your Registration 

If there are any changes to your registration such as :-

  • Wanting to add treatments or practitioners. 
  • Removing practitioners 
  • Practitioners permanently moving premises 

Then we need to be notified on the application form and a separate variation fee will be payable.

Please note there is no charge for removing practitioners, just email the information of the practitioner you wish to remove to

If a skin piercing business moves, the new premises will need to be registered. 

Temporary registration

Sometimes businesses wish to employ practitioners from outside of the Borough on a short-term basis e.g. guest tattoo artist. These practitioners must also be registered to be operating legally. However, instead of paying full fees, they can apply for temporary registration at a reduced fee so long as they are working for less than 30 consecutive days.

Useful forms and documents

CIEH Tattooing and Body Piercing Guidance Toolkit
HSE Tattooing, Ear and Body Piercing

Massage and Special Treatments

No licence is required from this Council for massage or other special treatments.