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Legal status of tattooing in the European Union

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Title: Legal status of tattooing in the European Union  
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Subject: Tattoo, Tattooing, Europe, Law in Europe
Collection: Europe, Law in Europe, Tattooing, Tattooing and Law
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Legal status of tattooing in the European Union

There is no law in the European Union requiring all countries to have a set age to be tattooed, therefore it differs from country to country. Most countries do however have the law set to 18 or 16 with parental consent. Even though there is not a set law on the actual tattooing there are set laws for EU states to follow that affect the working environment of tattoo/piercing shops and regulations.


  • Austria 1
  • Belgium 2
  • Bulgaria 3
  • Croatia 4
  • Cyprus 5
  • Czech Republic 6
  • Denmark 7
  • Estonia 8
  • Finland 9
  • France 10
  • Germany 11
  • Greece 12
  • Hungary 13
  • Ireland 14
  • Italy 15
  • Latvia 16
  • Lithuania 17
  • Luxembourg 18
  • Malta 19
  • Netherlands 20
  • Poland 21
  • Portugal 22
  • Romania 23
  • Slovakia 24
  • Slovenia 25
  • Spain 26
  • Sweden 27
  • United Kingdom 28
  • References 29


You may get a tattoo at the age of 16 with parental consent (this can be written) and without parental consent from the age of 18 upwards.[1]


In Belgium, there is not a specific implementation decree regulating the sector of piercing and tattooing practices.[2]


No legislation exists.


You may get a tattoo or piercing at the age of 16 with parental consent (parents must be present) and without parental consent from the age of 18 upwards. (tattooing or piercing of minors may vary depending on studios policy, some refuse to tattoo or pierce minors completely)


You have to be 18 to get a tattoo in Cyprus although it is rumoured that many places don't ask for ID and don't take the regulations "too seriously".

Czech Republic

No legislation found.


The Danish tattoo law was valid from June 15, 1966. It is unlawful to tattoo someone under the age of 18. In addition to this it is unlawful to tattoo someone on the head, neck and hands.[2][3]


No legislation found.


You need to be 18+ to get a tattoo in Finland, however, you may be able to get a permit to get a tattoo under the age of 18.


The legal minimum age is 16 in France.


You must be over 18 years of age to get a tattoo freely without parental consent. You need to have parental or guardian consent at the ages of 16 and 17. [4]


The minimum age is 18.

Greek tattoo law only covers tattoos and not permanent make-up.

Other key provisions (non exhaustive summary):[2]

  • Only tattoo persons who are at least 18 years of age. Persons under the age of 18 may only be tattooed in the presence of a guardian who has given the required written consent.
  • Not advise on the customer's state of physical health or offer any medical opinion.
  • Not effect any medical procedure, be it on the recommendation, under the guidance or with the help of any form of medical specialist.
  • Not proceed in any manner whatsoever to remove a tattoo.


No legislation found.


"There is no legislation regulating body piercing and tattooing. As a result there is no legal minimum age at which you can get a body piercing or tattoo."[5] However, many tattoo shops will refuse to tattoo anyone under the age of 18, or anyone 16+ who does not have a parent or guardian with them. Children who are 14 can get tattoos or piercings with parental consent.


In Italy a specific legislation concerning tattoos and piercing practices does not exist.[2]


No legislation found.


No legislation found.


No legislation found.


The minimum age is 18.


In the Netherlands, the age at which persons may decide for themselves to have a tattoo and piercing is 16 years. This age limit is suspended for earlobe piercing but pertains to all other areas. Informed consent forms, with information concerning health (including allergies) must be available and must be signed by the client. In the case of children under 16 years, a parent or guardian must sign. If they have signed but are not present with the client, the tattooist or piercer must verify their consent by telephone. Signed consent forms must be kept by the studio in a locked file for ten years.[6]


No regulation.


Reportedly the age limit is 18.


The minimum age is 18.


No legislation found.


No legislation found.


16 with consent of parents or 14 in some regions/


The minimum age is 18.

United Kingdom

Tattooing Of Minors Act 1969

1969 CHAPTER 24

An Act to prohibit the tattooing of persons under the age of eighteen years.[7] 16th May 1969

1 Prohibition of tattooing of minors.

It shall be an offence to tattoo a person under the age of eighteen except when the tattoo is performed for medical reasons by a duly qualified medical practioner or by a person working under his direction, but it shall be a defence for a person charged to show that at the time the tattoo was performed he had reasonable cause to believe that the person tattooed was of or over the age of eighteen and did in fact so believe.


  1. ^ "Age limits". Infomobil. Archived from the original on 2011-08-17. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Jugendschutzgesetz 2013: Ab wann sind Tattoos und Piercings erlaubt?". Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  5. ^ "Children and rights in Ireland". Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
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