North Carolina General Statute 130A-283 defines tattooing as, “The inserting of permanent markings or coloration, or the producing of scars, upon or under human skin through puncturing by use of a needle or any other method.” A tattooing permit from the local health department is required in North Carolina. Permits are valid for one year and are not transferrable. Initial permit applications must be submitted no less than 30 days prior to the date an artist anticipates to begin tattooing. Permit renewal applications must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the expiration of an existing permit. An Environmental Health Specialist will inspect the premises, instruments, utensils and equipment and will discuss tattooing procedures with the artist to determine compliance with the N.C. Rules Governing Tattooing, 15A NCAC 18A .3200 prior to issuing the permit.
Separate applications and permits are required for each artist and must be posted in a conspicuous place where they may be easily observed by the public upon entering the establishment. If an artist works at more than one location or transfers to a different establishment, a separate application and permit will be required for each address. A tattooing permit issued by the local health department does not authorize the artist to remove a tattoo from another person. Previous inspections are available for review on our Inspection Scores page.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Is a permit required for artists who apply permanent makeup or do microblading? Yes. An annual tattooing permit is required to perform these procedures.
- Is anyone exempt from permitting requirements? Yes. Licensed physicians, as well as physician assistants and nurse practitioners working under the supervision of a licensed physician, who perform tattooing within the normal course of their professional practice are exempt from permitting requirements.
- How old does a person have to be to get a tattoo? N.C. General Statute 14-400 requires a person to be at least 18 years of age. Patrons are required to record or verify their name, address, phone number, date of birth, and provide their signature. Retrievable records for each patron must kept by the tattoo artist for a minimum of two years.
- Are there any health conditions which would prevent an artist from providing a tattoo? Yes. No person with visible jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin) may be tattooed. No tattooing may be done on a skin surface that has a rash, pimples, boils, infections, or manifests any evidence of being reddened or inflamed.
- Is a permit required for body piercing? The state of North Carolina does not require a permit for body piercing. A law does exist on age requirements for piercing and it is enforced by local law enforcement agencies (N.C. General Statute 14-400).