How Old Should I Be To Get A Tattoo: A State-By-State Guide

How old to get a tatoo
Here we write where you should live to get a tattoo before 18 and which requirements every state has. Everything you need to know in one article.

Nowadays it is popular among young people to have a tattoo. Somebody prefers something minimalistic while others want something extraordinary. People see a tattoo as a way of revealing themselves and their personalities. Yes, it can be so but you should understand all age and other requirements. In this article, we will describe all of them for each state.

😱 Spoiler: Not everywhere you need to be 18 to get a tattoo.

Must know before taking a tattoo

  1. First of all, there is no federal law in the United States regarding the minimal age of getting a tattoo, however, each state has its own regulating laws.
  2. If you want to get a tattoo without parental presence, you should be at least 18 years old. In some states, minors also can get a tattoo but the presence of a parent or legal guardian or their written consent is required. Also, some states, for example, Florida and Idaho, have minimum age requirements even if you will come with your parents.
  3. It is better if you understand who you want to work in the future. There are professions where people are forbidden to have tattoos on the visible part of their body. Such professions are:
    • teacher
    • airline pilot
    • police officer
    • military personnel
    • healthcare professional
    • lawyer
    • receptionist
    • bank workers and other
  4. Tattoos are not a cheap pleasure. You will pay not only a master to get it but also for the aftercare products.
  5. Some minors want to get a tattoo in honor of their first love. Please, think twice before doing it. It can hurt but not always a person that means for you everything at 16 will be with you forever. Yes, there are modern technologies that can remove a tattoo but even they do not guarantee a 100% result and it takes a lot of time and money.

Why are these age requirements needed for tattoos?

We have an explanation for you why these age requirements are needed. We hope for your understanding.

  • You are still growing. This means that if you make a tattoo at 16, it can stretch out by your 24.
  • To prevent you from the spontaneous decision. You should think about the design, look for a reliable master and it would be nice to talk with your parents. Ask yourself whether your decision can wait at least one year to weigh all pros and cons.
  • To be sure that you will follow all the advice and restrictions. You may not like some of them but you must follow them to prevent complications such as blood poisoning or getting an infection in the body.
  • You have to be mentally prepared. Here fashion means nothing because once you get a tattoo, you will be with it for your whole life. We have written that there are technologies to remove a tattoo but, once more, even they do not guarantee a perfect result.

State rules on tattooing 

We have checked the latest laws of all states. You can see the summarized statistics below.

5

👪 Minimum age with permission from parents or legal guardian

19

✔️ 18 years old

27

🧸 Not specified but for minors, permission from parents or legal guardian is required

StateMinimum ageLegal document
AlabamaNot specified but informed consent of the parent or legal guardian of the minor is requiredRules of state board of health bureau of environmental services division of food, milk, and lodging chapter 420-3-23 Body art practice and facilities
Alaska18Instructions for Body Piercing, Tattooing or Permanent Cosmetic Coloring(PCC) License
ArizonaNot specified but the physical presence of the parent or legal guardian of the minor is requiredArizona Revised Statutes Title 13. Criminal Code § 13-3721. Tattoos, brands, scarifications and piercings; minors; anesthesia; exception; defense; violation; classification;  definitions
Arkansas18A Bill For An Act To Be Entitled An Act To Amend Various Provisions Concerning Body Artists; To Clarify The Nature And Penalties For Violations Of Laws And Rules Regarding Body Artists; And For Other Purposes
California18California Penal Code Section 653 PC: Tattooing A Minor
ColoradoNot specified but express consent from the minor’s parent or guardian is requiredColorado Body Art Act 25-4-2103, Parental Consent for Minors
ConnecticutNot specified but the permission of the parent or guardian of the minor is requiredConnecticut General StatutesTitle 19a – Public Health and Well-BeingChapter 368a – Department of Public HealthSection 19a-92a – Regulation of persons engaged in tattooing. Penalty.
District of Columbia18District of Columbia Code Division VIII. General Laws Title 47. Taxation, Licensing, Permits, Assessments, and Fees Chapter 28. General License Law Subchapter I-B. Non-Health Related Occupations and Professions Licensure Part D-i. Body Artists § 47–2853.76e Prohibitions and penalties
DelawareNot specified but the prior written consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian to the specific act of tattooing is requiredAn Act To Amend Title 11, Delaware Code, Relating To Body-Piercing, Tattooing, Or Branding Consent For Minors And Civil And Criminal Penalties.
Florida16, the physical presence of the parent or legal guardian or their written notarized consent in the format prescribed by the department are requiredChapter 64E-28, Florida Administrative Code
Georgia18O.C.G.A. §16-5-71
HawaiiNot specified but consent from the minor’s parent or legal guardian in person or obtaining written notarized consent from the parent or guardian identifying the design to be used and the part of the body to which the design is to be applied are requiredTattoos; Parental Consent HB340
Idaho14, the prior written informed consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian is required18-1523. Minors — Tattooing, Branding, Tanning Devices And Body Piercing
Illinois18CHAPTER 720 CRIMINAL OFFENSES720 ILCS 5/ Criminal Code of 1961.Article 12 – Bodily Harm
IndianaNone specified but a presence of a parent or legal guardian at the time the tattoo is provided, and written permission are requiredTattoo and Body Piercings – Section A
Iowa18Iowa Department of Public Health
KansasNot specified but a presence of a parent or legal guardian at the time the tattoo is provided, and written permission are requiredTattooing Cosmetic Tattooing Body Piercing Statutes, Rules and Regulations as of September 18, 2015
Kentucky16, a parent or legal guardian consent is required902 Ky. Admin. Regs. 45:065
LouisianaNot specified but the consent of an accompanying parent or tutor is requiredRS 14:93.2
Maine18Maine CDC Health Inspection Program Division of Environmental HealthIllegal Tattooing in Maine
Maryland18Baltimore City Health DepartmentTattoo Facilities
Massachusetts18Model Regulations for Body Art Establishments
MichiganNot specified but the prior written informed consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian in the presence of the licensee or an employee or agent of the licensee is requiredPUBLIC HEALTH CODE (EXCERPT)Act 368 of 1978333.13102 Tattoo, brand, or body piercing on minor; consent and proof of authority of parent or guardian required
Minnesota182020 Minnesota Statutes146B.07 PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
Mississippi18Regulations Governing RegistrationofIndividuals Performing TattooingandIndividuals Performing Body Piercing
MissouriNot specified but the prior written informed consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian is requiredMissouri Revised StatutesTITLE XXII OCCUPATIONS AND PROFESSIONS (324-346)Chapter 324 Occupations and Professions General ProvisionsSection 324.520 Definitions–tattooing, branding, body piercing, prohibited, when, penalty
MontanaNot specified but the explicit in-person consent of a parent or guardian is requiredMontana Sanitation Standards for Tattooing, Permanent Makeup, Body Piercing, and Ear Piercing
NebraskaNot specified but prior written consent of the parent or court-appointed guardian is requiredTitle 172 Professional And Occupational Licensure Chapter 46 Safety, Sanitation And Sterilization Relating To Body Art Facilities
Nevada14, the written consent and proper identification of a parent or guardian unless the person has been emancipated by a court of competent jurisdiction and can provide legal documentation stating this fact, is requiredSouthern Nevada Health District Regulations Governing the Sanitation and Safety of Tattoo Establishments Section 7 — Patrons
New Hampshire18Chapter 284 Tattoo, Body Piercing, Branding And Permanent Make-Up
New JerseyNot specified but written permission of the minor’s parent or legal guardian is requiredNew Jersey Revised StatutesTitle 2C – THE NEW JERSEY CODE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICESection 2C:40-21 – Tattooing of a minor; parental permission, required
New MexicoNot specified but the written consent of the parent or legal guardian is requiredAmerican Legal Publishing CorporationChapter 11, Article 5: Body Art
New York18Section 260.21 of New York State Penal Law
North Carolina18N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-400. Tattooing; body piercing prohibited
North DakotaNot specified but the presence of and the written permission of a properly identified parent or legal guardian of such person are requiredBismarck-Burleigh Public Health
OhioNot specified but the consent of the individual’s parent, guardian, or custodian is requiredOhio Revised CodeTitle [37] XXXVII HEALTH – SAFETY – MORALSChapter 3730 – TATTOOING OR BODY PIERCING SERVICESSection 3730.06 – Consent required to perform procedure on minor
OklahomaNot specified but the presence of a parent or legal guardian is requiredOklahoma State Department of Health
OregonNot specified but the written permission of that minor’s parent or legal guardian is required14A.80.030 Unlawful Tattooing of a Minor
PennsylvaniaNot specified the written consent of a parent or legal guardian is requiredThe General Assembly Of Pennsylvania House Bill No.456 Session Of 2017
Rhode Island18Rhode Island CodeTitle 11 Criminal OffensesCHAPTER 11-9 Children§ 11-9-15 Tattooing of minors
South Carolina18South Carolina Code of LawsTitle 44 – HealthChapter 34 – TATTOOINGSection 44-34-100 – Unlawful acts; penalties
South DakotaNot specified but a signed consent form from the minor’s parents or legal guardian is requiredArticle 44:12 Tattooing, Saline Tattoo Removal, And Body Piercing
TennesseeNot specified but a signed acknowledgment from the minor’s parent or guardian is requiredTenn. Code Ann. § 62-38-201 (2014)
TexasNot specified but consent from the person’s parent or guardian is requiredTexas Health and Safety Code § 146.012. Tattoos Prohibited for Certain Persons
UtahNot specified but the consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian is requiredUtah Code Title 76 Utah Criminal Code Chapter 10 Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, Welfare, and Morals Part 22 Public Health Offenses Section 2201 Unlawful body piercing and tattooing of a minor — Penalties
VermontNot specified but the written consent of the parent or guardian is requiredTitle 26: Professions And OccupationsChapter 79: Tattooists And Body Piercers
VirginiaNot specified but the presence of the person’s parent or guardian is requiredTitle 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally Chapter 8. Crimes Involving Morals and Decency Article 4. Family Offenses; Crimes Against Children, Etc. § 18.2-371.3. Tattooing or body piercing of minors
Washington18RCW 26.28.085 Applying tattoo to a minor—Penalty
West Virginia16, a presence of a parent or legal guardian providing photo identification and written consent is requiredSB28 SUB1
Wisconsin18Wisconsin Legislature: 948.70
WyomingNot specified but the presence of the person’s parent or guardian is requiredWyoming Statutes TITLE 14 – CHILDREN CHAPTER 3 – PROTECTION 14-3-107. Performing body-art on persons who have not reached the age of majority; penalties; definition

What is the risk if I did a tattoo earlier?

Are you sure that your decision is not a spontaneous one? The statistics show that around 46% of adults regret tattoos that they got under 20 years old. That is because 3 out 4 of them spent not more than a few weeks to plan the getting of it. Interesting fact that spontaneous tattoos people begin to regret within days.

If you did a tattoo earlier, you would set up both yourself and your tattoo artist. For misrepresenting your age, you can get a fine or community service. The artist can get a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to a year.

If your decision is spontaneous, you can also harm yourself. With a lack of information, you can find a non-licensed tattoo artist, whose services can be cheaper. In this case, you cannot be sure whether he/she uses sanitized equipment. But getting inked can cause infections, hepatitis B and C, or HIV. Therefore a reliable artist, who sanitizes everything he/she uses is very important. It is better to save more money and pay it to a reliable master than to regret the whole life.

Summary

Each state has its age requirements for minors to get a tattoo. If you want to get a tattoo without witnesses, you should be at least 18 years old. Otherwise, some states require the presence of your parents or legal guardian. Sometimes they also need to give written consent. Stick to the law because by misrepresenting your age you will get a fine or community service.

FAQs

🔞 Can I get a tattoo at 16?

In some states like Florida or Kentucky, you can. But the physical presence of the parent or legal guardian or their written notarized consent in the format prescribed by the department is required.

🧓🏻 How old do you have to be to get a tattoo in Alabama?

In Alabama, the minimum age for a tattoo is not specified but informed consent of the parent or legal guardian of the minor is required. In our article, you can also read age requirements for other states.

😲 Is it bad to get a tattoo at 14?

If you go to a licensed master, who uses only sanitized equipment, then no, it is not bad. But while you are not 18 years old, your parents must give consent.

🆔 Can I get a tattoo with a fake ID?

This is punishable. If you get caught, you will at least get a fine or community service. Your tattoo artist will also get a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to a year.

👪 How can I get a tattoo without parental consent?

To get a tattoo without parental consent you should be at least 18 years old. Otherwise, you will need consent.

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