Body art tattooing businesses and tattooists who operate in NSW have to be licensed with NSW Fair Trading.
It is an offence to perform a body art tattooing procedure for a fee or reward or conduct a body art tattooing business without an appropriate licence and heavy penalties apply.
However, transitional arrangements apply for operators and tattooists who lodged their licence applications with NSW Fair Trading prior to 1 October 2013, see below for details.
Individuals and businesses that only perform cosmetic tattooing procedures are exempt from the new licensing requirements.
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.
You need an operator licence if you operate or intend to operate a body art tattooing business in NSW.
If you run 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 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.
You will not need a licence if you only perform cosmetic tattooing procedures, which are procedures performed:
Licences are granted for a period of 3 years and payments can be made by cash, cheque, money order or credit card. Licence costs are as follows:
If your application is refused, the licence fee will not be refunded. If you withdraw your application, you may be able to apply for a refund – refer to the Applying for an Operator or Tattooist Licence information available with your application form.
To apply for either a tattooist or operator licence you must:
Applicants for a tattooist licence must also provide details of their previous, current, existing or upcoming employment as a body art tattooist, including any employment as an apprentice.
Applicants for an operator licence must also comply with the following requirements in addition to those stated above:
If you are applying as an individual nominated by an organisation to be the premise's manager, you must provide details of the entity and individuals involved with a letter nominating you to be the premise's manager.
The licence application forms have more detail about the specific requirements for tattooist and operator licences, which are available from the Forms section of the Fair Trading website.
For existing tattoo parlour operators and tattooists:
For new tattoo parlour operators:
A person is considered to be a close associate if they will:
A close associate may be an individual or a corporation or other entity (eg. a partnership or trust). For the full definition please refer to Section 4 of the Tattoo Parlours Act 2012 (the Act).
Under the Act, the Commissioner of Police must make a security determination about the applicant and consider all the people who may affect the business, including all close associates. Their written consent and identification documents are required to ensure that each individual is correctly identified to enable the NSW Police Force to make a security determination.
Secure information obtained about close associates (including the results of the National Police Check) will be treated confidentially and will not be disclosed to third parties, such as the applicant, except where required by the law.
Close associates are required to complete a declaration and provide certified copies of three forms of approved identification so that National Police Checks can be conducted. This information can either be provided to the applicant to submit with their application or the close associate can provide it to Fair Trading directly. The application will not be considered without the declaration and identification documents.
Licence applications can be lodged:
Once you lodge an application with Fair Trading:
Please note it may take some time to process your application. If it is approved, you will receive a letter advising when to collect your licence card from your nominated Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) registry. You must provide identity documents acceptable to RMS when collecting your licence.
If your application is unsuccessful, you will receive a letter advising you of the outcome and if relevant, the reasons for the decision. If you disagree with the decision, you may apply to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT) for a review. Visit their website for more details www.adt.lawlink.nsw.gov.au
If you conduct a body art tattooing business, even if it is not at a formal tattoo parlour, you are required to hold an operator’s licence.
Yes, interstate artists working in NSW must apply for a licence in the same way as NSW residents.
Individuals or organisations wishing to hold events or exhibitions where body art tattooing procedures will be performed, must apply for an event permit. An event permit may be issued for a maximum of 7 days with a maximum of two event permits per person per year. To apply for an event permit you must:
If you live outside of Australia and wish to visit NSW to perform body art tattooing procedures for a fee or reward, you must apply for a visitor permit. A visitor permit may be issued for a maximum of 31 days with a maximum of two permits per person per year. To apply for a visitor permit you must:
Permit applications must be made at least 28 days before the proposed event or commencement of the visitor permit and can be lodged by post or in person at any Fair Trading Centre.
Permits may be issued unconditionally or subject to conditions, and Fair Trading may revoke the permit or vary its conditions, even after the permit has been issued.
Permit holders must keep a copy of the permit for its duration and provide it to an authorised officer upon request.
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:
The maximum penalty for not complying with a licence condition is $2,200.
Anyone operating a body art tattooing business or performing body art tattooing procedures without a licence or permit, or not covered by the transitional arrangements that apply will be breaking the law and may be subject to penalties.
Maximum penalties for operators are as follows:
Maximum penalties for tattooists are as follows:
The new law also allows the NSW Police Force to enter tattoo parlours or premises suspected of being used to perform body art tattooing procedures with sniffer dogs to check for drugs, firearms and explosives.
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