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Tattoo Master Licence FAQs

What does a Master licence allow you to do?

A Master licence allows you to carry on a body art tattooing business at a specified premises.

You must hold a separate Master licence for each premises at which you carry on a body art tattooing business.

What's the difference between a Master licence and the old tattoo operator licence?

There is no difference. The Operator licence has simply been renamed a Master licence under the Tattoo Industry Act 2012.

How do I apply for a Master licence?

You can apply for a Master licence online via Service NSW here.

If you cannot apply online, please contact SLED on 1300 362 001.

Are there eligibility requirements for a Master licence?

To be granted a Master licence under the Act you must satisfy all eligibility requirements including:

  • be an individual and at least 18 years of age
  • be an Australian citizen or permanent Australian resident (includes New Zealand citizens)
  • be a fit and proper person to be granted a licence (includes close associates)
  • not be a controlled member of a declared organisation under the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2012
  • not be a member of a prescribed criminal organisation or have been a member in the previous 12 months
  • not have been convicted of a disqualifying offence in the past 10 years.

Your application will also be refused if:

  • it is incomplete
  • it would be contrary to the public interest to grant you a licence.

Do Master licensees need to report changes to close associates including employees and contractors

Master licensees must notify SLED of changes to close associates (including all tattooists and other staff members and contractors) within 14 business days of the change.

Master licensees must notify the change using the P1247 Application to Amend or Replace a Tattoo Industry Licence form.  If adding a close associate, a separate P1243 Close Associate Consent Form completed by the individual must accompany the application.

Three forms of acceptable identification for each new close associate must also be provided (except for holders of a current NSW Tattooist licence).

What is a prescribed criminal organisation?

Prescribed criminal organisations are listed in Schedule 3 of the Tattoo Industry Regulation 2023 and are currently:

  • Bandidos
  • Black Uhlans
  • Brothers for Life
  • Comanchero
  • Finks
  • Fourth Reich
  • Gladiators
  • Gypsy Joker
  • Hells Angels
  • Highway 61
  • Iron Horsemen
  • Life and Death
  • Lone Wolf
  • Mobshitters
  • Mongols
  • Mongrel Mob
  • No Surrender
  • Nomads
  • Odin’s Warriors
  • Outcasts
  • Outlaws
  • Phoenix
  • Rebels
  • Rock Machine
  • Satudarah

How do I update my contact or other licence details with SLED?

You should complete an Application to Amend or Replace a Tattoo Industry Licence Form available here, and post it to SLED.

Do Master licensees need to report changes to staff members or close associates?

Master licensees must notify SLED of changes to staff members working at a licensed premises within 20 business days after the change using the Application to Amend or Replace a Tattoo Industry Licence Form available on the SLED website.

Master licensees must also notify SLED of changes to close associates of the licensee within 14 business days after the change using the Application to Amend or Replace a Tattoo Industry Licence Form.

What forms of identification documents can I use to apply for a tattoo industry licence?

Licence applicants must provide copies of two (2) documents from the following list, one of which must contain your photograph.

Australian Passport clearly showing your name, date of birth, photograph, passport number and expiry date (may be expired within last 2 years)

* Australian Birth Certificate (not an extract)

* Australian Citizenship Certificate (front and back page)

* Australian Driver Licence

* Australian Marriage Certificate

* Health Card

* Immigration Card (Immicard)

* Medicare Card

* Pensioner Concession Card

* Senior’s Health Card

* Health Care Card

* Australian Certificate of Registration by Descent

* Foreign Passport clearly showing your name, date of birth, photograph, passport number, expiry date and country of issue (an original certified copy only)

* Veteran Seniors Health Card (an original certified copy only)

* Veteran Gold Card (an original certified copy only)

* Veteran Pension Concession Card (an original certified copy only)

* NSW Photo Card / Proof of Age Card (an original certified copy only)

Note: A close associate must provide three (3) documents from the list.

What if my licence application is refused, or my licence is cancelled or suspended?

You have the right to seek a review of decisions made to refuse, cancel or suspend licences. You can find full details on your Right of Review here.

Has my licence application been approved if my payment has been processed?

No. Processing your payment is the first step in the licence application approval process. You will receive further correspondence from SLED as your application progresses.

Will I be issued a licence card?

Tattooist and Master licensees will be issued a licence card.  Master licensees will be issued a separate card for each licensed premises.

A licensee must not, without reasonable excuse, fail to produce his or her licence to an authorised officer on demand by an authorised officer.

Master licensees will also be issued a Licence Information Certificate that must be conspicuously displayed at the licensed premises.

Do I have to follow the directions of a police officer or member of SLED?

All police officers and members of SLED’s Compliance & Enforcement team are authorised officers under the Tattoo Industry Act 2012. Authorised officers have powers to ask questions, enter premises and take documents.

You can find more details on how we regulate the tattoo industry and the powers of authorised officers here.

How do I replace a Tattooist or Master licence card, or a Licence Information Certificate that has been lost, stolen, destroyed or damaged?

You can apply for a replacement licence card or certificate using the Application to Amend or Replace a Tattoo Industry Licence Form available here. The form must be lodged via post. Replacement of a licence card will cost $55.

How do I apply to have my interstate tattoo industry licence recognised in NSW?

Contact SLED on 1300 362 001 to obtain a mutual recognition application form.

My licence has expired. Can I renew it?

If your licence has expired you may apply to restore the licence using the Licence Renewal and Restoration Application Form sent to you via email.

Applications to restore the licence must be received at SLED within three months of the licence expiry date. If your licence was surrendered or cancelled it cannot be restored.

Why does my new tattoo industry licence card look different to my previous cards?

NSW tattoo industry licence cards have been redesigned to align with the new legislation and SLED’s business processes. The new licence cards feature a new background and no longer include a photograph of the licensee.

Tattooist Licence FAQs

What does a Tattooist licence allow you to do?

A Tattooist licence allows you to perform a body art tattooing procedure in NSW.

How do I apply for a Tattooist licence?

You can apply for a Tattooist licence online via Service NSW here.

If you cannot apply online, please contact SLED on 1300 362 001.

Are there eligibility requirements for a Tattooist licence?

To be granted a Tattooist licence you must satisfy all eligibility requirements including:

  • be an individual and at least 18 years of age
  • be an Australian citizen or permanent Australian resident (includes New Zealand citizens)
  • be a fit and proper person to be granted a licence
  • not be a controlled member of a declared organisation under the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2012
  • not be a member of a prescribed criminal organisation or have been a member in the previous 12 months
  • not have been convicted of a disqualifying offence in the past 10 years.

Your application will also be refused if:

  • it is incomplete
  • it would be contrary to the public interest to grant you a licence.

What is a prescribed criminal organisation?

Prescribed criminal organisations are listed in Schedule 3 of the Tattoo Industry Regulation 2023 and are currently:

  • Bandidos
  • Black Uhlans
  • Brothers for Life
  • Comanchero
  • Finks
  • Fourth Reich
  • Gladiators
  • Gypsy Joker
  • Hells Angels
  • Highway 61
  • Iron Horsemen
  • Life and Death
  • Lone Wolf
  • Mobshitters
  • Mongols
  • Mongrel Mob
  • No Surrender
  • Nomads
  • Odin’s Warriors
  • Outcasts
  • Outlaws
  • Phoenix
  • Rebels
  • Rock Machine
  • Satudarah

What forms of identification documents can I use to apply for a tattoo industry licence?

Licence applicants must provide copies of two (2) documents from the following list, one of which must contain your photograph.

Australian Passport clearly showing your name, date of birth, photograph, passport number and expiry date (may be expired within last 2 years)

* Australian Birth Certificate (not an extract)

* Australian Citizenship Certificate (front and back page)

* Australian Driver Licence

* Australian Marriage Certificate

* Health Card

* Immigration Card (Immicard)

* Medicare Card

* Pensioner Concession Card

* Senior’s Health Card

* Health Care Card

* Australian Certificate of Registration by Descent

* Foreign Passport clearly showing your name, date of birth, photograph, passport number, expiry date and country of issue (an original certified copy only)

* Veteran Seniors Health Card (an original certified copy only)

* Veteran Gold Card (an original certified copy only)

* Veteran Pension Concession Card (an original certified copy only)

* NSW Photo Card / Proof of Age Card (an original certified copy only)

Note: A close associate must provide three (3) documents from the list.

What if my licence application is refused, cancelled or suspended?

You have the right to seek a review of decisions made to refuse, cancel or suspend licences.  You can find full details on your Right of Review here.

Has my licence application been approved if my payment has been processed?

No. Processing your payment is the first step in the licence application approval process. You will receive further correspondence from SLED as your application progresses.

I want to run my own tattoo business as a tattooist? How do I do this?

If you want to work as a self-employed tattooist, you need to apply for a Master licence.

This licence will allow you to work as a self-employed tattooist at the licensed premises.

You aren’t required to also hold a Tattooist licence. You can apply for your Master licence online via Service NSW here.

Do I have to follow the directions of a police officer or member of SLED?

All police officers and members of SLED’s Compliance & Enforcement team are authorised officers under the Tattoo Industry Act 2012. Authorised officers have powers to ask questions, enter premises and take documents.

You can find more details on how we regulate the tattoo industry and the powers of authorised officers here.

How do I replace a Tattooist licence card that has been lost, stolen, destroyed or damaged?

You can apply for a replacement licence card or certificate using the Application to Amend or Replace a Tattoo Industry Licence Form available here.

The form must be lodged via post. Replacement of a licence card will cost $55.

How do I apply to have my interstate tattoo industry licence recognised in NSW?

Contact SLED on 1300 362 001 to obtain a mutual recognition application form.

My licence has expired. Can I renew it?

If your licence has expired you may apply to restore the licence using the Licence Renewal and Restoration Application Form sent to you via email.

Applications to restore the licence must be received at SLED within three months of the licence expiry date.

If your licence was surrendered or cancelled it cannot be restored.

Who can perform body art tattooing procedures at a permitted tattooing show?

An individual who:

  • holds a current NSW Tattooist licence; or
  • holds a current NSW Master licence for premises at which that individual performs body art tattooing procedures as a self-employed individual; or
  • holds a current NSW Visiting Tattooist Permit; or
  • is an authorised participant of the permitted tattooing show.

Note: the individual must also comply with any applicable legislation relating to the performance of body art tattooing procedures including the Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health Regulation 2022. See the Body Art and Tattooing Businesses fact sheet on the NSW Health website at www.health.nsw.gov.au.

I only do cosmetic/medical tattooing. Do I need a NSW Tattooist licence?

You don’t need a Tattooist licence to perform a cosmetic tattooing procedure, which is a tattooing procedure:

  • that provides an individual a permanent eyeliner, eyebrows or any other permanent make-up, or
  • performed by a medical practitioner or for a medical reason.

Do I need to hold a Tattooist licence to perform body are tattooing procedures if I hold a Master licence?

You don’t need to hold a Tattooist licence if you are a self-employed individual performing a body art tattooing procedure at premises for which you hold a Master licence.

Do I need a Tattooist licence if I'm an apprentice?

Yes. You must hold a Tattooist licence to perform a body art tattooing procedure as an apprentice.

Why does my new licence card look different to my previous cards?

NSW tattoo industry licence cards have been redesigned to align with the new legislation and SLED’s business processes.

The new licence cards feature a new background and no longer include a photograph of the licensee.

Will I be issued a licence card?

Tattooist and Master licensees will be issued a licence card.  Master licensees will be issued a separate card for each licensed premises.

A licensee must not, without reasonable excuse, fail to produce his or her licence to an authorised officer on demand by an authorised officer.

Master licensees will also be issued a Licence Information Certificate that must be conspicuously displayed at the licensed premises.