How to Get a Rhode Island Tattoo License

Rhode Island requires you to have a Tattoo Artist License issued by the state. A license costs $90 (application fee).

Rhode Island body art by tattoo artist

Licenses expire every year on December 31st, and must be renewed annually. Renewing a license costs $90.

Tattoo Artist Application

To get a Rhode Island Tattoo License, applicants must submit the following forms:

A completed Tattoo Artist License application. You will need to sign Section 13 of the application in front of a notary, who will then notarize the application. Find a notary near you here.

Your $90 application fee.

A passport-type 2 x 3 inch photograph taken within 1 year (you can get these taken at a CVS near you).

An official certified copy of your birth certificate

If born outside the US, instead of a birth certificate, provide proof of citizenship, lawful alien status, or legal entry.

Practical exam results from the Rhode Island Department of Health.

After you complete the application, call 401-222-2566 to schedule an appointment for your exam.

An original BCI (Background Check) with stamp and seal directly from the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office or Local Police Department.

If you have ever been licensed in another state, license verifications must be sent directly from that state.

It is highly recommended that all tattoo artists go through a bloodborne pathogens training program.

To get a Rhode Island Tattoo License, applicants must submit the following forms:
  • A completed Tattoo Artist License application. You will need to sign Section 13 of the application in front of a notary, who will then notarize the application. Find a notary near you here.
  • Your $90 application fee.  
  • A passport-type 2 x 3 inch photograph taken within 1 year (you can get these taken at a CVS near you). 
  • An official certified copy of your birth certificate 
  • If born outside the US, instead of a birth certificate, provide proof of citizenship, lawful alien status, or legal entry. 
  • Practical exam results from the Rhode Island Department of Health. 
  • After you complete the application, call 401-222-2566 to schedule an appointment for your exam.
  • An original BCI (Background Check) with stamp and seal directly from the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office or Local Police Department. 
  • If you have ever been licensed in another state, license verifications must be sent directly from that state.

It is highly recommended that all tattoo artists go through a bloodborne pathogens training program.

Note:

This application is the same one you’ll use for body piercing, if you offer both services.

Transferring a Tattoo License from Another State:

An out-of-state license can be used as proof of experience, but can not be used in place of a Rhode Island license. 

Note:

The Rhode Island Department of Health only gives you a wallet license card. If you want a license certificate to frame in the shop, you will need to submit a second check for $30 made payable to RI General Treasurer.

Turn in Your Application

Applications must be submitted by mail or drop off. The address is:

Rhode Island Department of Health (Tattoo Artists/Body Piercers)
Room 104, 3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908-5097

You will receive your license about 30 days after you submit your application.

Regulations for Licensed Tattoo Parlors

Find the registration application for tattoo parlors here.

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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