How Old Do You Have To Be To Get A Tattoo?

Written by: Pete
Updated:

Rules and regulations for tattooing are not only strict but very complicated. If you’re thinking about getting inked but aren’t sure if you make the minor age cut-off, our thorough article on legislation in the United States, Canada, UK, and beyond will have you covered.

Want to more about when can you get a tattoo? Keep reading!

Related:

What Is The Best Age to Get a Tattoo?

While getting a tattoo is a personal preference and decision, it is most definitely a permanent one. As such, most people might suggest that the best age to get a tattoo is when you are of adult majority and have given your tattoo careful and thoughtful consideration.

Some adults wait years before deciding on their first tattoo, and others get one the day they turn 18. If you are a minor who is considering getting a tattoo, ensure you are fully aware of the repercussions of this decision, how it may impact future job prospects, and whether the content or design you get will truly be relevant to you in five, ten, or twenty years.

There are additional restrictions that come with being a minor who is getting a tattoo which can include but is not limited to:

  • A tattoo artist not feeling comfortable with the responsibility of tattooing a young person
  • A minor person being unable to handle the pain as well as an adult
  • Limitations on location and design choices for minors, such as not allowing you to get tattooed on your hands, fingers, face, or neck

What Is the Youngest Age You Can Get a Tattoo?

This question is difficult to answer because the laws regarding tattooing vary country-to-country and even state-to-state within the United States. In the U.S., the youngest you can get a tattoo without any additional consent, regardless of state, is 18 years old. But in some states and some countries around the world, parental consent can get you a tattoo at 13 or even 14 years old.

tattoo regulations by state

Reasons Behind Tattoo Age Restrictions

That being said, most reputable shops do not feel comfortable tattooing minors below the age of 16. With body growth, mental development, and emotional security to consider, as well as the fact that a tattoo is essentially a medical procedure, many tattoo artists will decline the job even if the parent is present.

If a client claims to be 18 but it is discovered they have been tattooed as a minor without parental or guardian consent, a tattoo artist and their shop risk hefty fines that could even lead to shop closures.

List of States and Their Regulations for Tattooing Minors

Tattooing does not follow a federal practice, other than the requirement that a client be over the age of 18 if they wish to get tattooed without additional consent. Individual states have their own laws regarding tattooing and minors.

ALABAMA Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
ALASKA Tattoos are prohibited for minors
ARIZONA Minors require the presence of a parent or legal guardian
ARKANSAS Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
CALIFORNIA Tattoos are prohibited for minors
COLORADO Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
CONNECTICUT Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
D.C. Tattoos are prohibited for minors
DELAWARE Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
FLORIDA Minors require the written and notarized consent of a parent or legal guardian
GEORGIA Tattoos can only be performed on a minor by a licensed physician with parental consent
HAWAII Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
IDAHO Minors must provide consent from a parent or legal guardian in the presence of the tattoo artist
ILLINOIS Tattoos can only be performed on a minor by a licensed physician with parental consent
INDIANA Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, and they must be present
IOWA Tattoos are prohibited for minors unless they are also married
KANSAS Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
KENTUCKY Minors require the consent of a parent or legal guardian
LOUISIANA Minors require the consent of a parent or legal guardian
MAINE Tattoos are prohibited for minors
MARYLAND No laws regarding age limits for tattoos
MASSACHUSETTS Tattoos can only be performed on a minor by a licensed physician with parental consent
MICHIGAN Minors require the consent of a parent or legal guardian
MINNESOTA Minors require the consent of a parent or legal guardian
MISSISSIPPI Tattoos are prohibited for minors
MISSOURI Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, and they must be present
MONTANA Minors require the consent of a parent or legal guardian
NEBRASKA No laws regarding age limits for tattoos
NEW HAMPSHIRE Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, and they must be present
NEW JERSEY Minors require the consent of a parent or legal guardian
NEW MEXICO Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, and they must be present
NEW YORK Tattoos are prohibited for minors
NORTH CAROLINA Tattoos are prohibited for minors
NORTH DAKOTA Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, and they must be present
OHIO Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, and they must be present
OKLAHOMA Tattoos are prohibited for minors
OREGON Tattoos can only be performed on a minor by a licensed physician with parental consent
PENNSYLVANIA Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, and they must be present
RHODE ISLAND Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, and they must be present
SOUTH CAROLINA Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
SOUTH DAKOTA Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
TENNESSEE Minors under the age of 16 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
TEXAS Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, and they must be present, and only if it is to cover a previous offensive tattoo
UTAH Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
VERMONT Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
VIRGINIA Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian unless the tattoo is performed by a licensed physician
WASHINGTON Tattoos are prohibited for minors
WEST VIRGINIA Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
WISCONSIN Tattoos can only be performed on a minor by a licensed physician with parental consent
WYOMING Minors require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, and they must be present

Other North American Regulations for Tattooing Minors

CANADA (FEDERAL) Minors under the age of 18 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
ONTARIO Minors under the age of 18 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
QUEBEC No province-wide minimum, shops usually will not tattoo anyone under 17
NOVA SCOTIA Shops set their own minimum age
ALBERTA No laws regarding minors and tattoos
BRITISH COLUMBIA No laws regarding minors and tattoos
SASKATCHEWAN No laws regarding minors and tattoos
MEXICO Minors under the age of 18 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian

European Regulations for Tattooing Minors

AUSTRIA Minors between the age of 16 and 18 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
BULGARIA No minimum
CROATIA Minors between the age of 16 and 18 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
CYPRUS Prohibited to tattoo minors under 18
CZECH REPUBLIC No minimum
DENMARK Minors between the age of 16 and 18 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
FINLAND Minors between the age of 16 and 18 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
FRANCE Minimum age of 16, no parental consent is needed, fascist designs are prohibited
GERMANY Minors between the age of 16 and 18 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
GREECE Minors between the age of 16 and 18 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
HUNGARY No minimum
IRELAND No minimum
ITALY No minimum
LITHUANIA No minimum
LUXEMBOURG No minimum
MALTA Prohibited to tattoo minors under 18
SPAIN Minimum age of 14, no parental consent is needed
SWEDEN Prohibited to tattoo minors under 18
UNITED KINGDOM Prohibited to tattoo minors under 18

Australian Regulations for Tattooing Minors

AUSTRALIA Minors under the age of 18 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian
TASMANIA Minors under the age of 18 require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian

Can a 13 Year Old Get a Tattoo?

While some states allow minors to get a tattoo with written parental or guardian consent and presence, the likelihood of a reputable shop tattooing someone of that age is very slim. Most people will not tattoo anyone under the age of 15.

What States Can You Get a Tattoo at 14?

There are 24 states that allow you to get a tattoo at the minor age of 14 with either parental or guardian written consent, guardian presence, or both. Iowa does state that if you are a married minor, you do not need consent to be tattooed.

Are Hand and Neck Tattoos Illegal on Minors?

In most states, shops will avoid tattooing on the hands, neck, or face of a minor due to the potential legal or medical repercussions on the shop or artist. Some states ban face tattoos, outright. And in Denmark, tattoo artists will absolutely not tattoo the head, neck, or hands of a minor person.

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