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Acupuncture, Ear Piercing, Electrolysis and Tattooing Registration


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.

Tattooing is defined as "the insertion into the skin of any colouring material designed to leave a permanent mark".

Acupuncture is defined as "the insertion of needles into living tissue for remedial purposes".

Electrolysis is defined as meaning, "the destruction of hair roots, warts, moles etc by means of an electric current".



Applications must include any information required by Colchester Borough Council.


pdf icon Colchester Borough Council's Licensing Fees and Charges [66kb]


 Regulation Summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence

pdf icon Byelaws for Tattooing Electrolysis Acupuncture and Ear Piercing [302kb]


Application Evaluation Process

No provision in legislation.

The target completion period is 28 days. 

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.

There are no specific guidance notes for completing the application other than the information given on this page and on the form. 

Apply and Pay Online

We are sorry but the facility to make online applications is not yet available.  

Apply for a licence to pierce skin

   Apply via post
    or in person

For PDF versions of the application forms which can be downloaded, printed and completed, please click the links below:

pdf icon Tattoo/Piercing Acupuncture and Electrolysis Premises Licence Application Form [26kb]

pdf icon Tattoo/Piercing Acupuncture and Electrolysis Operators (up to 2 operators) Licence Application Form [26kb]

Application forms are also available from the Colchester Library and Community Hub or by contacting us using the details below.


Failed Application Redress

Please contact Colchester Borough Council in the first instance.


Licence Holder Redress

Please contact Colchester Borough Council 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, Citizens advice bureau will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

To access Colchester Borough Council's public registers for acupuncture, tattooing, ear-piercing or electrolysis , please contact the Council using the contact details given on this page or email us by clicking here. 

Other Redress

E.g. about noise, pollution, etc. Also should one licence holder complain about another.


Trade Associations

British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC)
British Association of Skin Camouflage
British Institute and Association of Electrolysis
Guild of Professional Beauty Therapists