Acupuncture, Ear Piercing, Electrolysis and Tattooing

You will need a licence if you offer acupuncture, tattooing, skin piercing, ear piercing or electrolysis


  • 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"


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 

Application forms are also available from the Colchester Library and Community Hub or by contacting us on 01206 282520 or online via the Contact Form here


How long will my application take?

We aim to complete your application within 28 days. 


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 the Schedule of Charges for the appropriate fee. 


What happens if my application is not successful?

 In the first instance please Contact Us


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

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, and if you are located in the UK, the Citizens advice bureau will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre


Is there a Public Register that I can view?

To access Colchester Borough Council's public registers for acupuncture, tattooing, ear-piercing or electrolysis, please contact the Council using the contact details given on this page or email us

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence can be seen here: 

Byelaws for Tattooing Electrolysis Acupuncture and Ear Piercing 


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