Acupuncture, tattooing, piercing and electrolysis licence

Under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 any person who carries out the practice of acupuncture or the business of tattooing, ear piercing or electrolysis must register with the local authority. In addition, the premises where the skin piercing business operates must also be registered.

The current cost of registration is:

  • Premises and persons - £106
  • Person only - £72
  • Premises only - £72
  • Temporary registration for premises and persons - £40

This is a one-off payment.

The Local Government Act 2003 has amended the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 allowing local authorities to register cosmetic piercing (includes body piercing) and semi-permanent skin colouring.

The application form and a copy of the appropriate by-laws for registration can be downloaded.

Licence summary

To offer skin-piercing treatments - including tattooing, acupuncture, ear and body piercing - both the person performing the treatment and the premises must be registered with the local authority. In some areas you may need a licence from the local authority.

Eligibility criteria

Applications must include any information required by the local authority.

Regulation summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the Council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the Council within a reasonable period, please contact us. The application period is 31 days.

Apply online

Both your payment and application can be submitted online. Please see the guidance attached in the related documents section for further information.

Apply for a licence to pierce skin ( website)

Apply by post

Return the completed forms with your cheque (payable to Bristol City Council) to Public Health Services.

Application form

Failed application redress

Please contact us in the first instance.

Licence holder redress

 Please contact us in the first instance.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress

Please contact us in the first instance.


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