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Women giving tattoo

What does the Tattoo Program do?

  • Issues and manages artist permits
  • Issues and manages all establishment permits including:
    • Permanent establishments
    • Mobile establishments
      Effective 9/7/2016 no new mobile tattoo units will be permitted
    • Temporary establishments
  • Ensures that all tattooing performed in the State of Iowa is in accordance with Iowa Code section 135.37 and 641 Iowa Administrative Code, Chapter 22

For a current list of licensed artists and establishments, see the Resources page.

Tattoo applications and renewals are now online

To apply for or renew a permit go to:
https://idph.iowa.gov/regulatory-programs/tattoo

Frequently Asked Questions

I would like to practice tattooing, cosmetic tattooing or microblading, what do I need to do?

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must have a high school diploma or G.E.D. (online high school diplomas are not acceptable)
  • Must complete Bloodborne Pathogen and Standard First Aid Training (CPR/AED is not acceptable)
  • Must complete Tattoo Artist Application
  • Must submit fee of $75 along with application
*You must also practice in a facility that has a tattoo establisment permit or have your own tattoo establishment permit.

Microneedling:  Unless ink is being injected into the skin, microneedling does not fall under the Tattoo Program.  Please contact the Iowa Board of Medicine at ibm@iowa.gov.

What is required to open a permanent tattoo establishment?

  • Must complete Permanent Establishment Application
  • Must submit $100 fee along with the application and floor plan
  • Must be located in a commercially-zoned building
  • Must pass inspection conducted by the Designated Inspection Agency
  • Must meet all requirements outlined in 641 Iowa Administrative Code, Chapter 22 (Refer to the Iowa Code link at the top of this page)

I would like to host a tattoo convention or temporary event, what do I need to do?

  • Must complete a Temporary Establishment Application
  • Submit fee based on the number of participating artists
  • Submit a copy of the floor plan
  • Refer to the Guidelines for Tattoo Establishments

Is body piercing regulated by state law?

  • No. Body piercing is not regulated by state law. However, some county or city health departments may have body piercing regulations. Be sure to check with your county or city health department.

Can a minor get a tattoo if they have parental consent?

  • No.  Individuals under the age of 18 are prohibited from getting a tattoo, regardless of parental consent.

How long will it take for my application to be processed? 

  • The department processes applications in the order they are received
  • Typical processing time for new artist permits are 1-2 weeks
  • Typical processing time for establishment permits are 3-4 weeks
  • We will not process incomplete applications 
  • Applications submitted during the renewal cycle (October-December) may be delayed 

Who inspects tattoo establishments in my community?

Tattoo establishments are inspected annually by a local designated inspection agency.

How do I find a licensed tattoo artist or establishment?

The Iowa Department of Public Health Tattoo Program maintains current lists of licensed artists, permanent makeup artists, and establishments in the State of Iowa.

Licensed tattoo artists and tattoo establishments are listed at the following link. To verify the status of a tattoo artist or tattoo establishment, please visit our on line database at https://dphregprograms.iowa.gov/PublicPortal/Iowa/IDPH/common/index.jsp and click on Public Search. Then enter the name of the tattoo artist or the name of the tattoo establishment. Once the individual or establishment record appears, click Details to learn more about their registration. If you find an error on the list, please notify the Tattoo Program at (515) 724-3017.

How do I file a complaint?

If you would like to file a formal complaint against a tattoo artist or establishment, please complete the following form and either email or mail it to us at the address listed at the top of the form.  The department does not accept anonymous complaints.

For more information about the Tattoo Program, contact: Chelsea Stevens at (515) 724-3017
Tattoo Program | Iowa Department of Public Health | 321 E. 12th Street | Des Moines, Iowa 50319