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Acupuncture, Ear Piercing, Electrolysis and Tattooing

You will need a licence for acupuncture, tattooing, skin piercing, ear piercing, electrolysis, semi-permanent make up, micropigmentation and microblading


  • What does the licence cover?
  • How do I apply?
  • How much will it cost?

What does the licence cover?

To be able 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 Colchester Borough Council. In some areas you may need a licence from us.

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 "the destruction of hair roots, warts, moles etc by means of an electric current"

Micro blading is defined as "a hand held implement that implants pigmentation into the skin by creating fine incisions".

Micropigmentation is defined as “a semi-permanent make up method that is carried out by machine to implant colour deeper into the skin than micro blading and therefore lasting longer”

How can I apply?

Unfortunately we are unable to offer an online application at this point and you would therefore need to download and complete the forms which can be found below:

Tattoo/Piercing Acupuncture and Electrolysis Premises Licence Application

Tattoo/Piercing Acupuncture and Electrolysis Operators (up to 2 operators) Licence Application 

Once application forms have been received an officer will contact you to arrange inspection of your premises.

If you have any queries, please contact the licensing team on:

How long will my application take?

We aim to complete your application within 28 days. 

Once we have received your application form and payment, an officer will be in touch to arrange an inspection

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 us.  

How much will it cost?

Please see our list of licensing fees

What to expect from an inspection

An officer will visit at an agreed convenient time.

The inspection will be looking at:

  • The general cleanliness of the premises
  • Chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection
  • Training certificates of all staff for the application
  • Evidence of a sharps contract
  • COSHH (Control of substances hazardous to health) paperwork
  • Jewellery/inks/pigments/ equipment used for various processes
  • Availability of wash hand basins
  • Consent forms and aftercare sheets

What happens if my application is not successful?

 In the first instance please contact the licensing team:


What if I have a complaint about a business that is registered or licenced?

Please contact the Licensing team with regards to any registered or any potential unregistered premises and we will investigate the matter further.

Email us:

Useful links 

Byelaws for Tattooing Electrolysis Acupuncture and Ear Piercing 

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