NSW tattooists now require a licence

Anyone who performs body art tattooing procedures for a fee or reward, or who runs a body art tattooing business in NSW will need to be licensed.

Who needs a licence?

Anyone who performs body art tattooing procedures for a fee or reward, or who runs a body art tattooing business in NSW will need to be licensed.

  • A ‘body art tattooing’ procedure is a tattooing procedure performed for decorative purposes.
  • A ‘body art tattooing business’ is a business, which carries out body art tattooing procedures, whether or not the business also carries out other activities.
  • A person will need an operator licence if you operate or intend to operate a body art tattooing business.
  • If a person runs a body art tattooing business and perform tattooing procedures at that premises you do not need a separate tattooist licence. However, if you operate from more than one location, you must have a separate operator licence for each location.
  • You will need a tattooist licence if you work or intend to work as a body art tattooist in NSW. This is an individual who performs body art tattooing procedures for a fee or reward.

A person will not need a licence if they only perform cosmetic tattooing procedures, which are procedures performed:

  • for the purpose of providing eyeliner, eyebrow or any other permanent make-up effect, or
  • by a medical practitioner for a medical reason (eg. to hide, disguise or correct a medical condition or postoperative outcome).

Licence conditions

Under the Act, a licence is granted subject to specific conditions. However, Fair Trading may impose additional conditions on a licence. All licensees must not sell, rent out or lend their licence to anyone. Operators must also include their licence number in any advertising.

What if they work from home?

If a person conducts a body art tattooing business, even if it is not at a formal tattoo parlour, they are required to hold an operator’s licence.

Do interstate artists need a licence?

Yes, interstate artists must apply for a licence in the same way as NSW residents.

What about events and international visitors?

Individuals or organisations wishing to hold events or exhibitions where body art tattooing procedures will be performed, must apply for an event permit.

If they reside outside of Australia and wish to visit NSW to perform body art tattooing procedures for a fee or reward, they must apply for a visitor permit.

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