Tattoos and Piercings

Is there an age limit for getting a tattoo or a piercing?

Check your region below for more information on tattoos.

Piercings are more generally accepted by society, however with piercings other than the ear lobe you may have to be a certain age before they will perform a piercing without parental consent.

All businesses providing tattoo or piercing services need to follow guidelines and be registered by the local Council. They should display a Certificate of Registration. The guidelines made by Councils are to prevent the spread of disease or infection, which is a common risk from body modifications.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, there is no law which says how old you have to be to get a tattoo or body piercing. If you are under 18 it will depend on whether you are able to give valid consent. This will depend on whether the tattooist or body piercer is confident that you fully understand the long term impact and risks involved. In determining this they may consider your age, maturity, and the type and location of the piercing or tattoo that you want. In practice, many studios may still ask for permission from a parent or guardian if you are under 18.

ACT

In the ACT, if you are under 18 you can not get a tattoo unless you have consent from a parent or guardian. If you are under 18 and do not have parental consent, it is illegal for someone to tattoo your body and they may have to pay a fine of up to $7000. However, it is not illegal for you to get the tattoo so you would not be fined.

Western Australia

In WA, if you are under 18 you can not get a tattoo unless you have written consent from a parent or guardian.  The written consent must also specify what type of tattoo you can have and where on your body it will be placed.  If you are under 18 and do not have consent, it is a criminal offence for someone to tattoo or otherwise make a permanent mark or design on your skin.

If you are over 16, you are able to get your ears pierced without requiring consent from your parents or guardian.  If you want to get a piercing elsewhere on your body (but not an intimate area) and you are under 18, you will need written consent from your parent or guardian which states where the piercing can be done.

If you are under 18, a piercer is not allowed to give you an intimate body piercing (a piercing in nipples or genitalia) at all, even if your parent or guardian has given consent.

NSW

In NSW you need parental consent to have a body piercing if you are under 16.  For tattoos you need parental consent if you are under 18.  The consent can be in writing or in person.

Victoria

The Summary Offences Act 1966 provides that in Victoria it is an offence to tattoo a person under 18 years of age unless the tattoo is done by a registered medical practitioner or at their written request.

A body piercer must not perform an ‘intimate’ body piercing on the genitalia, anal region, perineum or nipples of a person under the age of 18 years, whether or not consent has been given to the body piercing.

A body piercer must not otherwise perform a ‘non-intimate’ body piercing on a person under 16 years old unless written consent has been given to the body piercer by their parent or guardian or by the person to be pierced, if they are over 10 years old and have capacity to consent.

This does not apply to a body piercing performed in good faith in the course of a regulated health service provided by a registered health practitioner or in the course of clinical training by a registered student.

South Australia

In SA, if you are under 18 you can not get a tattoo unless you have written consent from a parent or guardian.  If you are under 18 and do not have consent, it is a criminal offence for someone to tattoo or otherwise make a permanent mark or design on your skin.

There is no law in SA to say at what age you can get a piercing, although the piercer will take into account whether you can give a valid consent by fully understanding what is involved.  In practice, some piercing studios may still require consent from a parent or guardian.

Tasmania

In Tasmania, it is illegal to perform tattoos, body modifications (such as earlobe stretching) or intimate piercings (such as to genitals or nipples) on someone under 18 years of age, even if they have parental consent.

A tattoo artist or piercer who does perform these procedures on someone under 18 will have committed an offence and can be given a large fine, or sent to jail.

Queensland

In Queensland many places require parental permission if you are under 18 and would like a piercing or a tattoo.

There is no law that requires this, but the industry has made this normal practice. Generally a trustworthy business will not tattoo a person under the age of 16 unless there are exceptional circumstances.