Find out how to get a licence to carry out procedures which pierce the skin such as acupuncture, ear piercing, electrolysis and tattooing.

Any person or business carrying out a relevant skin piercing activity will need to be licensed by the Council. This can include:

  • Cosmetic piercing (i.e. piercing of any part of the body, including the ear)
  • Semi-permanent skin-colouring (i.e. micropigmentation, semi-permanent make-up and temporary tattooing (not henna tattooing))
  • Electrolysis
  • Acupuncture
  • Tattooing

Both the Person undertaking the activity and the Premises need to be licensed.

Registration will depend on compliance with our byelaws, completion of the Application Form and payment made. Guidance on compliance with the byelaws can be found at the top right hand corner of this page.


Registration is not required when skin piercing is carried out by, or under the supervision of, a person who is registered as a medical practitioner (or, in the case of acupuncture only, a Dentist).

The Registration Process

Registration is required for the person carrying out the skin piercing activity and the premises where the activity is to take place. Only one personal registration may be required, as long as the premises that the person is working at has the correct premises license to cover the activity eg. Where the person is undertaking acupuncture at multiple sites.

What happens when an application is received?

When we receive your completed application form and fee, a visit may be made by one of our Authorised officers to check that the conditions specified in the skin piercing byelaws, and relevant Health & Safety Legislation are met. It may be required that you provide the following documentation at the time of the visit, such as:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of Qualifications and Training
  • Proof of Public Liability Insurance

If the officer is satisfied of compliance, a certificate of registration will be processed and issued. Once received, this should be displayed in a prominent position on the premises where the activities take place.

A visit from an Authorised officer may not be required under the following circumstances:

  • If it is simply a change of details (such as name of person, name of business)
  • If a Personal Registration is made to practice Skin Piercing at a premises already registered for that activity.


Applications and changes

You can apply for a Personal License, Premises Licence or Amend existing licenses here.

If there is any change in your business name, the persons registered to give treatments, or the range of treatments provided, you will need to make a new application.


For fees please see the Licensing Fees page.

Further Guidance: