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Establishments

Tattoo Artists

Permits are required for all tattoo establishments including permanent establishments, temporary establishments, and mobile units. An application and fee must be submitted for each permit. Permits for permanent and mobile establishments are valid for one year and expire on December 31st. 

More information, and the applications for each specific permit can be found in the sections below.

To apply online go to:
https://idph.iowa.gov/regulatory-programs/tattoo

Permanent Establishment Requirements

Tattoo facilities are required to be inspected prior to operation and annually by a local inspection agency.

Any changes to the floor plan after initial approval/inspection need to be reviewed before implemented.  If making changes to an already approved floor plan please email an updated floor plan to chelsea.stevens@idph.iowa.gov   

The checklist below is what will be used by the inspector to conduct the tattoo inspection. You may use this checklist as a reference to ensure that your establishment meets all the requirements.

Also listed below is the guidance document that includes specific details for each type of establishment permit such as, mobile units and temporary events.

*Please note:  Processing time for a new tattoo establishment is 3-4 weeks.  If additional information is needed we will email you at the email address provided on the application.

Renew an Establishment Permit

Renewal notices will be emailed during the first week of October.  Tattoo renewal applications and fee are due by November 30th of each calendar year.  All permits expire on December 31st.  Your permit will be emailed to the email address provided. 

Our offices are closed to the public and we are working remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The most efficient way to renew your permit is to renew online. 
To renew your establishment permit online go to: https://idph.iowa.gov/regulatory-programs/tattoo.

Permits renewed after December 1 will be required to pay an additional $25 for each month delinquent.

Change of Location/Business Name/Ownership

If your tattoo establishment is moving to a new location, you must submit a Change of Location paper application, non-refundable fee and floor plan within 30 days of changing your location.  This allows time for processing, review of your floor plan and scheduling an inspection with the local inspection agency. The permit to operate at the new location will be issued only after the establishment has successfully completed the onsite inspection.  These changes cannot be done online.  If additional information is needed, we will email you at the email address provided on the application.

If you are changing the name of your establishment, please submit a Change of Business Name paper application and mail it to us within 30 days to obtain a new permit.  No fee is required. These changes cannot be done online.

If the ownership of your establishment is changing, please submit a Change of Ownership paper application and non-refundable fee to us within 30 days. These changes cannot be done online.

Mobile Establishment Forms

Effective 9/7/2017 no new mobile establishment applications will be accepted.  Current mobile tattoo units shall be inspected annually by a local inspection agency.

Temporary Establishment Forms

Applications must be submitted 30 days prior to the temporary event. 

  • Temporary Establishment Application PDF  You must include promotional documentation and floor plan.  A list of participating artists must be submitted one week prior to the event.

Fees for temporary events are based on the number of participating artists.

  • 0 to 10 artists -          $100
  • 11 to 100 artists -      $200
  • 101 or more artists - $300

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