Business Answers About Licensed Facilities

Tattoo Practices

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Do I need a license to practice the art of tattooing?

A Department of Health and Human Services license is required for any person who practices the art of tattooing.

How do I apply for a Tattoo license?

You may download an application or call the Health Inspection Program's main line at 207-287-5671 for a hard copy. The application requires you to provide information about the applicant’s name, home and mailing address, proof of having attended within the last 3 years, a bloodborne pathogen training program approved by the department, and a description of the applicant's experience in performing tattooing. You must provide a copy of a water test if you use a well as a water supply and Appendix C in the application for the Onsite Wastewater Disposal System if you are not on a public sewer.

How soon can I open or how soon do I get my license after an application is submitted?

Once the district health inspector has given approval for you to operate as a tattooist, within 30 days of receipt of a complete application, if there are no outstanding issues, the Health Inspector will inform the Licensing Clerk to issue your license. This generally is within a week once the Health Inspector informs the Licensing Clerk.

How much does a license to practice tattooing cost?

Please refer to the fee table located within the application. If you practice in two or more locations, you must obtain a separate license for each, as the licenses are site specific.

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Do I need any special training or certification to operate a tattoo facility?

All persons first licensed, and those renewing an existing license, must demonstrate that they have attended a bloodborne pathogen training program given or approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, within the preceding 3 years.

Can I operate a mobile tattoo facility?

No. No person may practice the art of tattooing in any temporary place of business, including but not limited to, agricultural fairs, carnivals, tents, trailers, and mobile tattooing facilities.

A licensed tattoo practitioner may practice at a tattoo trade show approved by the Department of Health and Human Services.

What is the minimum age of the person receiving a tattoo?

The minimum age to be tattooed is 18. No tattooing shall be practiced on any person who is less than 18 years old, as verified by a driver's license, liquor ID card, military ID card, or other adequate record.

Can I use durable needles as long as they are sterilized between uses?

No. All needles must be of the single service (disposable) type.

Are licenses transferable?

No. Health Inspection Program licenses are not transferable.

Who is my district health inspector?

You may call the Health Inspection Program main line at 207-287-5671 to find out who the inspector is for your town or on the website.

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How do I request an inspection?

Once your application has been submitted, your district health inspector will be in contact with you to set up a pre-operational inspection.

If you need a routine inspection, you may contact the district health inspector directly.

How soon can I get an inspection?

This depends on the Health Inspectors schedule as inspections are prioritized. Once the Health Inspector has completed your inspection and given approval to operate, you may operate your establishment. You do not need to wait for the license as your inspection with the approval of the inspector is written on the report. You will generally receive your license within a week after approval. By statute the Health Inspection Program shall issue a license within 30 days of receipt of a complete application, if the establishment is found to comply with rules adopted by the Department.

Who do I speak with if I have technical questions about the requirements to operate my tattoo facility?

Your district health inspector can assist you with these questions. You may call the Health Inspection Program main line at 207-287-5671 to find out who the inspector is for your town, or  on the website.

What other requirements should I be aware of?

Other regulations which may affect operation of a body piercing facility include, but are not limited to, Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules; the Drinking Water Rules; and the Internal Plumbing Rules (PDF)Fire Marshall's Office. You should also check with your local municipal officials to see if there are local zoning issues or permits that you must obtain before operating your establishment.

Where can I find the tattooing rules?

The Rules Relating to Tattooing (CMR 210) can be downloaded or we can mail you a hard copy. Download a copy of the Rules.

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