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Businesses offering skin-piercing related services must be registered with us. By registering, the licence will cover the person providing the physical practice and the premises used for that purpose.

Skin piercing is recognised as:

  • acupuncture
  • cosmetic skin piercing
  • tattooing
  • electrolysis
  • microblading.

It is illegal to carry out these activities unless registration has been formally approved.

Apply for a licence

You can use GOV.UK to register your skin-piercing related business with us and to apply for the licence. If you have a licence already and need to make changes, you can do this online too.

The costs are:

  • register a premises: £85
  • Proprietor for ear and nose piercing: £60 per person
  • Proprietors for electrolysis and acupuncture: £85 per person
  • Proprietors for tattooing, body piercing, semi-permanent skin colouring and microblading: £136 per person
  • Reissue of skin piercers certificate: £20.

Application process

After you've applied, we will:

  • acknowledge receipt within 14 days
  • contact you to arrange a premises inspection.

When visiting your business premises to conduct an inspection, we'll need to see evidence of the procedures, equipment and facilities used are safe, hygienic and prevent the spread of disease. This is to ensure full compliance with the general duty of care required by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the bylaws.

If the inspector considers the procedures and premises are suitable, the licence and registration will be approved. Registration usually lasts as long as you intend to work in the premises.

Health and safety laws

There are no powers to refuse registration, but the practice is controlled through compliance with the bylaws and health and safety at work legislation in each case. You can only work in the premises where you're licensed.

For more information about the related legislation, please visit: