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Skin piercing registration

Information on skin piercing activities and how to register

Skin piercing activities

The term skin piercing includes:

  • ​tattooing
  • semi-permanent skin colouring (for example, micro-blading)
  • cosmetic piercing (includes ear piercing and body piercing)
  • electrolysis
  • acupuncture

Who needs to register?

You'll need to register the:

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

If you're providing more than one skin piercing activity, you'll need to register for each activity.


You can register as an apprentice. But you must be:

  • working at a registered premises, and
  • be supervised by someone who is experienced

Once an application is received, we'll discuss the length of your apprenticeship with the manager.  

Your certificate will be issued with an expiry date. It's your responsibility to re-apply for an extension, or apply for a full certificate.

If the experienced practitioner feels you're at a satisfactory level, we'll issue a full certificate.

You don't need to register if you're an apprentice who is:

  • initially learning hygiene procedures 
  • practicing your art work or tattooing on fake skin

How to register

If you're opening a new business premises, check whether you need to apply for planning permission before you register. If the address was used for a different type of business, you may need to apply for a change of use. For more information please see our planning pages.

To register to perform a skin piercing activity, you'll need to complete one of the following forms:

Fees & Charges

Our current fees are:

  • premises registration £75.00
  • practitioner registration £31.90
  • replacement Certificates £5.20
  • replacement copy of byelaws £2.50

What happens next?

If you operate the business premises, we will contact you to arrange a visit. The visit is to check that you comply with the byelaws.

Once a practitioner application is received, we will contact you. We'll ask you questions about your experience and knowledge regarding the activities you are registering for.

Sometimes we will make an appointment to visit practitioners at work, this is to assess your practices.

Where you can work

The certificate we issue relates only to working within the borough. Your registration does not allow you to work in other local authority areas.  

Further information

Our guide on bylaws gives further information on the regulation of skin piercing activities. This can be found below.