Tattoo Operator Licence - Queensland


In response to the spread of COVID-19, the Prime Minister has announced the National Cabinet has placed a ban on conducting all tattooing procedures in Australia until further notice.

This ban means tattooists and operators cannot perform any tattooing anywhere in Australia including their own home, until the government relaxes the restrictions. There is no estimated time as to when this will occur.

As a result, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is not issuing new licences for tattoo operators or tattooists. However, we want to offer existing tattoo licensees, as much assistance and flexibility as possible with regards to your licence and renewals.

If you recently lodged a new application and paid your licence fees, but have not been issued your licence, you can either:

  • withdraw your application and seek a refund of the licence fee
  • leave your application and licence fee with the OFT until the ban is lifted.

Please email the OFT if you would like a refund for a recent renewal.

For existing licensees, the government ban does not affect the validity of your licence. It remains valid until the current licence period expires (either one or three years after the licence was granted or your last renewal).

If your licence is due for renewal during this COVID-19 ban, we recommend you lodge a renewal application without the relevant renewal fee to ensure your licence does not expire. 

The OFT will contact you at a later date about payment of the renewal fee. Renewal fees can be put on hold during the ban, but it is up to you to ensure your licence remains current in order to avoid having to apply for a new licence again when the crisis is over.

Tattoo Operator Licence Description

If you operate or intend to operate a body art tattooing business in Queensland, including working from home, you need a tattoo operator licence. 

This licence authorises you to run a body art tattooing business (whether on your own, or managing for another person) at the location specified on the licence. To apply for a tattoo operator licence fill in the application form in the resources section.

An application for an operator licence must be made by an individual.  If the business is owned by a corporation, partnership, or trust, the licence application can only be made by an individual nominated by the organisation to be the business manager.

If you're self employed and run a body art tattooing business, even if it's not a formal tattoo parlour, you only need an operator's licence.  You do not need to apply for a separate tattooists licence.

In your application, you must nominate where you will operate the body art tattooing business.  If your business has a number of locations, a separate operator licence is required for each location where a body art tattooing business is conducted.

It is a requirement of the Tattoo Industry Act 2013 that all records relating to the operation of a tattoo studio be kept on the licensed premises at all times.

Service type


A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.

Eligibility requirements

Must Have

To apply:

  • be 18 years or older
  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • not be subject to a relevant control order or registered corresponding control order that restricts the person from carrying on a business, engaging in an occupation, or performing an activity that requires a licence
  • not be convicted of a prescribed offence under the Act where a conviction was recorded within the last 10 years
  • undertake a criminal history check with Queensland Police Service.

Ongoing eligibility requirements

If you have a tattoo operator licence, you need to notify us of the following:

  • if you change business managers
  • if you change address of the business (within 14 business days after the change)
  • when a staff member leaves or a new person starts work (within 20 business days after a change in staff employment).

To nominate a business manager, you must complete Tattoo Industry Form 1 - Application for an Operator Licence.

To notify us of a change in staff at the tattoo studio, you must complete Tattoo Industry Form 3 - Change in certain particulars.

To advise us of a change in address details, you must complete Tattoo Industry Form 3 - Change in certain particulars.


Other resources

Application process

You can lodge your application with the Office of Fair Trading Industry Licensing Unit.

By law, the police need to take your finger and palm prints. We will contact you after you lodge your application form to explain what you need to do.

Additional information

You must hold a current certificate for Maintain Infection Prevention for Skin Penetration Treatments if you are going to be performing tattooing.

Application will be assessed by the Office of Fair Trading, upon completeness of applications. Please note it may take some time to process the application. Once the application has been approved the applicant will receive a letter and licence.
If your application fails, we will send you a letter explain the reason/s for the decision.
If you disagree, you may apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a review.

You should also contact your local council regarding the Higher risk personal appearance service licence.

Administering agency

Department of Justice and Attorney-General

Office of Fair Trading

Industry Licensing Unit

Contact details

Contact Email, Phone and Address Details for this service in simple two column table format, header then data.

Please use these contact details for help or more information:

Industry Licensing Unit

Office of Fair Trading

Department of Justice and Attorney-General

Operating address: Upper Plaza Terrace
33 Charlotte Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Mailing address: GPO Box 3111
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Phone: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
Website: Office of Fair Trading (Opens in new window)