Skin piercing and tattooing licence

A skin piercing and tattooing licence is needed by all businesses who undertake tattooing or skin/body piercing. This can be a person, company or partnership.

Skin piercing and tattooing cover:

  • Acupuncture
  • Electrolysis
  • Any cosmetic body piercing (including ear piercing)
  • Tattooing (including semi-permanent tattooing)

A licence is required to ensure public safety. We assess everyone who applies for this licence to make sure that you are fit and proper person to have this licence. 


A licence is not required if the skin piecing activity is carried out by a regulated health care professional (such as the General Medical Council, the General Dental Council, the General Optical Council, the General Osteopathic Council and the General Chiropractic Council).

How to apply

To apply for a licence to enable you to carry out body piercing, tattooing and acupuncture you must complete the application form, display a site notice and provide us with a certificate of compliance.

Application form

To apply for this licence, download and complete the application form (PDF 192KB). Please email your completed form to, or post to:

Team Manager (Health and Safety)
Aberdeenshire Council
Environmental Health
Gordon House
Blackhall Road
AB51 3WA

Displaying a site notice

At the same time as lodging your application for a licence, you must display the site notice (PDF 52KB), at the location from which your business is to operate, for a period of 28 days.

Thereafter, you must submit certificate of compliance (PDF 97KB) to us, stating that the site notice was correctly displayed, or explaining why you were unable to display the site notice.

Application fees

The fee payable differs depending on the type of application:

  • Cosmetic skin piercing and tattooing application to grant the licence - £469.13 covering 3 years
  • Cosmetic skin piercing and tattooing licence renewal after 3 years - £421.83
  • Electrolysis, acupuncture and ear piercing application to grant the licence - £355.56 covering 3 years
  • Electrolysis, acupuncture and ear piercing renewal of licence - £320.01
  • All variation to current licence - £202.61

There may be an additional fee per employee.

Please call our Environmental Health team on 01467 539039 to make payment. 

Application process

Your completed application should be accompanied by evidence of your knowledge, skill, training and experience in the field you wish to operate in. And where the applicant is company or partnership, this evidence must be submitted for each person employed to carry out the activity. 

The information on your application form may be held on a public register which may be available to members of the public on request.

We will also send a copy of your application to the Grampian Police, Grampian Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment and Planning Services (our consultees). We allow them 21 days to consider your application.

You will get an acknowledgement letter together with a receipt in respect of the licence fee submitted.

In the absence of objections or adverse representations, your licence will be issued to you under delegated authority.

We aim to deal with your application in about six weeks but by law we have up to six months.


If we receive objections, representations or information about you from our consultees it will take longer to deal with your application because your application will need to be sent to the Licensing Committee. Licensing staff will try to give you an idea of how long things are likely to take.


The law allows us to refuse your application in certain circumstances. A decision to refuse a licence will only be made by the Licensing Committee and not the Licensing Department. 

The most common reason for refusing to grant a licence is that the person is not suitable, or fit and proper to have a licence.


If your licence is granted, we will impose conditions that vary depending on the type of licence that you have applied for.

We will advise you of the conditions which you must observe at all times. However, in any case you will have to:

  • surrender the licence if and when called upon to do so by the Licensing Authority for the purpose of alteration in accordance with any decision of the Licensing Authority
  • notify the Licensing Authority in writing within 30 days of any change from the information provided in the original licence application
  • ensure that you are covered by an adequate policy of third party liability insurance with a reputable company and display an appropriate certificate at all times on the premises or have it available for inspection if your activity is not carried out mainly from a premise
  • provide information to every prospective client about the process of your activity as well as the risks, the contraindications and the after care requirements of the procedure
  • ensure that every prospective client has read and understood the above information prior to undertaking the procedure

More detailed and specific conditions relevant to your activity are available in the following documents: 

Duration of the licence

A licence can be for a temporary period or either one year or three years. 


The same application form (PDF 192KB) must be completed and submitted before the expiry of your current licence.