How to Get a Tattoo License – NYC

The New York State Department is currently working on a statewide permit/license program, but for now you must follow local regulations. This guide will outline the requirements in New York City. For other areas, contact your local health department.

A Tattoo Artist License is required for an individual tattoo artist working in NYC. A tattoo license costs $100 and is issued by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. If submitting your application online, you will be charged a 2.49% convenience fee as well.

New York City Tattoo Licenses are valid for two years from the end of the month in which it was applied for. Licenses may be renewed online. It costs $100 to renew your license.

Tattoo Artist License Application

To obtain a tattoo artist license in New York City, you must submit the following:

Application (The paper application may be found here or you may apply online here.)

$100 fee (by credit card, money order, or check to “DOHMH”)

Proof of home address (one of the following) a 70% score is required.

Valid driver’s license or non-driver ID

Current lease or mortgage statement

Utility bill, bank or credit card statement dated within the last 90 days

Photo identification, such as driver’s license or passport

Valid original NYS Certificate of Sales Tax Authority

Complete Form DTF-17 online or mail it to

New York State Tax Department

Sales Tax Registration Unit

W A Harriman Campus

Albany, New York 12227. 

Takes 4-6 weeks

After your application with required documents is submitted and your fee is paid, you will take the NYC Health Academy Infection Control Course for Tattoo Artists.

In order to get a Tattoo Artist License, you must provide:
  • A copy of a government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
  • Be prepared to pay the $60 licensure fee.

Please note that tattoo artist licensure is required to practice cosmetic tattooing.

*The Florida department of health requires you to list the licensed tattoo establishments where you will perform tattooing.

To renew a Florida Tattoo License:
  • Be prepared to pay the $60 renewal fee.

New York City Infection Control Course

study guide for department of health and mental hygiene’s infection control examination conducted biannually

NYC law requires tattoo artists must take the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s infectious diseases course:

  • Sign up for the course during your application process or by going to this website 
  • Course fee is $26
  • Infection Control Course Study Manual
  • The Health Academy three hour infection control course conducted twice per month
  • At the end of the course, you’ll be given an infection control examination covering statewide health regulations. Once you successfully complete the written examination, you will be issued your tattoo license.

If your county has additional regulations, you can find them here.

Turn in Your Application

You may submit your application online or in person.

To apply online:

 Visit this website

 Make sure to have electronic copies (PDF, JPG, GIF, PNG, XLS, XLSX, DOC, DOCX, VSD, or TXT) of your required documents listed below.

Pay your $100 fee by credit card before submitting your application

A 2.49% convenience fee will be added to online payments

To apply in person: 

 Schedule an appointment by calling 212-436-0441 or emailing  LicensingAppointments@dca.nyc.gov

 Bring your completed application, $100 fee (credit card, check, or money order) and   the required documents listed below

Documents to submit with your application & fee:

 Proof of home address (one of the following)

Valid driver’s license or non-driver ID

Current lease or mortgage statement

Utility bill, bank or credit card statement dated within the last 90 days

 Valid government ID, such as driver’s license or passport 

 Valid original NYS Certificate of Sales Tax Authority

You’ll receive your tattoo artist license after completing the three hour Infection Control Course.

If You Are a Permanent Makeup Artist:

Because permanent make up (PMU) is a form of tattooing, all permanent makeup artists must get a tattoo license (see information in the “Application” section of this article), take the 3 hour infection control course, and successfully complete the written examination.

If You Are Also Interested in Body Piercing:

At this time, there is no application for body piercing operators available online for NYC. New York is undergoing major changes in their tattooing and body piercing requirements, and many NY counties currently require new tattoo and piercing artists to complete an application for a new license in person at their local department of health.  

You will need to take the NYC Health Academy Infection Control Course for Tattoo Artists.

If You Are Opening a Tattooing And/Or Body Piercing Studio:

All tattooing and body piercing establishments must submit a license application. Due to the state creating new regulations surrounding its tattoo and body piercing laws, at the time of writing there is no application available online. You will need to go in person to your local department of health to apply.

NY law requires every individual tattoo artist working in a shop to be independently licensed.

Things You Should Know:

It is illegal to tattoo minors under the age of 18, regardless of parental consent.

Links used in this article

DCA licensing center tattoo license application: https://www1.nyc.gov/nycbusiness/description/tattoo-license
New york city body art industry regulations: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/body_art/
New york city body art individual permit requirements:
https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/permit/address-affidavit.pdf
New york city tattoo license application: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/hany/tattoo-license-app.pdf
New york city tattoo license appointment contact info for further assistance: LicensingAppointments@dca.nyc.gov
New york city licensing citizen portal: https://a816-hlst.nyc.gov/CitizenAccess/
New york city tattoo manual: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/hany/tattoo-manual.pdf
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene blood borne pathogens / infectious diseases course for tattooing and body piercing https://www1.nyc.gov/nycbusiness/description/infection-control-course-for-tattoo-artists
http://www.nys-opal.com

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

examples of students own tattoo

Learning the steps you need to take to get licensed is an important step in your journey, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist. 

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

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AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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