Home Tattoo Do You Need An ID to Get a Tattoo: 5 Requirements [Must Read]

Do You Need An ID to Get a Tattoo: 5 Requirements [Must Read]

The 5 Reasons Why You Need An ID If You Want A Tattoo Must Read
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The process of getting a tattoo is more complex than it seems. Legal requirements, including proper identification, must be met to ensure the people are of legal age and mentally prepared to make such a decision. Proper identification protects tattoo enthusiasts and artists from potential legal and reputational harm.

Yes, an acceptable form of identification is a birth certificate, driver's license, or passport with your name and date of birth is needed.

In this blog post, we will explore if an ID is required to get a tattoo, why identification is needed when getting a tattoo, the risks and consequences of underage tattooing, the valid identification for tattooing, and types of Acceptable Identification.

Do You Need An ID to Get a Tattoo: 5 Reasons

5 Reasons Tattoos Require Identification
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Tattoos require identification for several reasons. A tattoo shop asks for a photo ID and scans it. Tattooing is a body art that involves penetrating the skin with ink using a needle. This means it is considered a medical procedure and should be treated.

Tattoo parlors must comply with health and safety regulations, including verifying the age and identity of their clients. The following are some reasons tattoos require identification:

  • Age Verification: Tattoo parlors are required by law to verify the age of their clients. They scan your ID. In many states in the US, the legal age to get a tattoo is 18. This means that individuals under the age of 18 legally may not get tattoos without the consent of a parent or guardian. By verifying the age of their clients, tattoo parlors can ensure that they are not breaking any laws.
  • Liability Protection: By verifying the identity of customers, tattoo parlors protect themselves from liability in case anything goes wrong during the tattooing process. For example, if a minor were to get a tattoo without parental consent and later experience complications or adverse reactions, the tattoo parlor could be held responsible if they failed to verify the client's age.
  • Reputation Management: Tattoo parlors use positive word-of-mouth and online reviews to attract new clients. By verifying the identity of their clients and complying with health and safety regulations, they can build a reputation for professionalism and quality work.
  • Safety Precautions: Identification helps to protect both the client and the tattoo artist. It allows both parties to verify they are who they are, reducing the risk of fraudulent activity. Tattoo artists must have a record of their clients' identification in case of any legal issues arising from their services.
  • Medical Concerns: Proper identification also helps disclose any medical conditions affecting the procedure. A tattoo artist must know a client's medical history to decide on placement, techniques, and ink selection. Some medical conditions, such as hemophilia, may affect the healing process, so the artist may recommend against tattooing certain body areas.
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Age/ID Requirements For Tattoos

Regulations have ensured that underage persons do not get tattoos without proper consent. Age restrictions are critical in ensuring that tattoos are accepted responsibly and safely. There are a few guidelines and requirements for tattoos.

Minimum Age Limits for Tattoos in Different States

Each state in the U.S. has laws regarding the minimum age for tattooing. Here are some examples:

  • California: Tattoo artists in Canada don't need a license like in other countries, but studios follow strict health and safety guidelines that aspiring artists learn in apprenticeships. To get a tattoo in Canada, you must be 18 and have a valid photo ID.
  • New York: The Empire State also sets the minimum age for tattoos at 18.
  • Texas: The Lone Star State allows tattoos for those 18 and older but makes an exception with parental consent for those under 18.
  • Jamaica: Tattoo parlors typically require clients to be 18 or older, as the Jamaican believes tattooing should only be done on adults.
  • Malaysia: In Malaysia, there's no official tattooing regulatory body, but at Black Cat Tattoo Studio, customers must be at least 18 years old for tattoo services.

Exceptions for Minors with Consent from a Parent or Guardian

Some states allow minors to get tattoos with their parents' or guardians' permission. These include:

  • Texas: As mentioned above, Texas allows tattoos for those under 18 with parental consent.
  • Nevada: The Silver State allows tattoos for those under 14 with parental consent.
  • Florida: The Sunshine State allows tattoos forchildren under 16 with parental consent. To get a tattoo license in Florida, you must pass courses on pathogen prevention and first aid, attend a tattoo school, and complete a tattoo apprenticeship.
  • Canada: Exceptions may apply with parental consent for those as young as 16.

The Reasoning Behind Age Restrictions

The age restrictions for tattoos are in place for several reasons:

  • Health Risks: Tattooing involves breaking the skin barrier, leading to infections if not done correctly.
  • Permanent Decision: Tattoos are a lifelong commitment, and it’s believed that minors may not fully understand the implications.
  • Potential Regret: Studies show that people who get tattoos at a young age are more likely to regret their decision later in life.

Tattoo Shop Rules

  • You should not sneak into a tattoo studio if you are underage or bring a fake ID.
  • A parent is more likely to consent to the tattoo if they're present.
  • Show up to get your tattoo without alcohol or drugs, and don't hide any medication you're taking.
  • You must be 18 years old and provide an acceptable form of identification, including a birth certificate and photo ID with your name.

5 Types of Valid ID's For Getting a Tattoo

The 5 types of valid ID you need to get a tattoo

When planning to get a tattoo, it’s essential to know that most tattoo parlors require you to present a valid form of identification. Tattoo shops do not accept expired identification. Bringing your yellow-papers will be helpful if your ID is expired, clipped, or punched. This is to ensure that you are of legal age to receive a tattoo, as per the laws of your specific region. Some types of valid ID are accepted for tattoos without an ID:

  • Valid Driver's License: This is one of the most commonly used forms of identification. A driver's license proves your legal age and is taken by most tattoo studios.
  • Passport: A passport is another widely accepted form of identification for getting a tattoo. This is especially useful for clients who are traveling and don't have access to their state-issued IDs.
  • Military ID: Active-duty military members can use their military ID to get a tattoo. This form of identification also proves legal age and identity.
  • State/County Issued ID: A state or county ID is another acceptable form of identification. This is useful for clients who don't have a driver's license or passport but still need a valid ID to get a tattoo.
  • School ID: A school ID may be accepted as a proper form of identification. However, not all tattoo studios will take this form of ID, so it's best to check with the studio beforehand.

Risks of Getting a Tattoo Without Identification

A tattoo without a proper ID can be challenging. Tattoo parlors typically require government-issued identification to verify age (usually 18). We'll explore alternative ways to get tattoos without ID, the legal implications of using someone else's identification, the risks of unlicensed artists or parlors, and health and legal consequences.

ID Alternatives for People Without Standard Forms

If you don’t have a standard form of ID, you might consider a few alternatives:

  • Passport: A valid passport is a globally recognized form of identification.
  • Military ID: Your military ID is valid if you’re an armed forces member.
  • State-issued ID: Some states issue identification cards to those without a driver's license.

The Legal Impact of Using Someone Else's ID

Using someone else’s ID to get a tattoo carries serious consequences, including:

  • Identity Theft Charges: If you’re caught using someone else’s ID, you could be charged with identity theft.
  • Fraud Charges: Using a false ID is fraud and is punishable by law.
  • Legal Penalties: Fines and imprisonment can be imposed in various jurisdictions based on the offense's severity.

Risks Associated with Getting a Tattoo From an Unlicensed Artist or Parlor

Get a tattoo from an unlicensed artist or parlor at your own risk

There are several risks involved in the process of getting tattooed by an unlicensed artist, such as:

  • Legal Trouble: It’s illegal to operate a tattoo parlor without a license, and customers of such establishments can also face legal repercussions.
  • Poor Quality Work: Unlicensed artists may not have the skills or training to deliver quality work.
  • Infection: Unlicensed parlors may not adhere to proper sanitation practices, increasing the risk of infection.
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Health Risks and Legal Consequences

There are several health risks and legal consequences associated with getting a tattoo without proper identification, including:

  • Health Risks: From allergic reactions to severe infections like Hepatitis B and C or HIV.
  • Legal Consequences: If a parlor is caught providing tattoos to individuals without proper ID, they may face heavy fines or even be forced to revoke their license.
  • Personal Liability: If you lie about your age or use a fake ID to get a tattoo, you could be liable for any resulting damages or legal issues.

ID Alternatives for People Without Standard Forms

If you don’t have a standard form of ID, you might consider a few alternatives:

  • Passport: A valid passport is a globally recognized form of identification.
  • Military ID: Your military ID is valid if you’re an armed forces member.
  • State-issued ID: Some states issue identification cards to those without a driver's license.


The legal requirements for getting a tattoo must be understood before you visit a tattoo parlor. Researching the laws in your area is essential since these requirements can vary depending on the state or country you're in. You must be at least 18 to get a tattoo without permission, but some states accept written consent.

Some states may have additional regulations surrounding tattoos, so it's best to do your due diligence and research before deciding. Ultimately, getting a tattoo is a serious commitment, so it's essential to approach the process cautiously and make an informed decision.

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Matt Callard
I am a passionate traveler, as if traveling were my full-time job. I like to change my surroundings and environment, like changing desktop wallpaper. Nature increases the concentration in my writing, which helps brainstorming flow in my blood. I have a cat named Kitana. She is the most desperate about traveling, more than any other cat. How do I know? If I miss any tour in any week, she literally destroys my clothing with her wolverine nails.

I and my cat also participate in extreme activities like surfing, biking, hill tracking, paragliding, boating, etc. She was always there in my accidents, injuries, and stitches. She always sits on my lap when it hurts me most. The funniest part is that she has experienced all my tattoos. She sleeps on my blanket when I go through any painful experience.

My hobbies and lifestyle added many pain and injuries to my life. That is why I have a lot of experience in dealing with different levels of pain and burn. It influenced me to become a pain expert and share primary suggestions to handle any unwanted situations that hurt.


  • What States Can You Tattoo Without A License?

    States like Alabama, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin rarely mandate an exam for tattoo artists. However, some states may request a portfolio demonstration from the tattoo artist.

  • What Should I Avoid Eating After A Tattoo?

    Avoid consuming shell-based seafood and excessive sweets like bottled juice, cookies, desserts, soda, pastries, chocolates, and ice cream after getting a tattoo, as these can increase inflammation.

  • Can a Minor Get a Tattoo With Their Student Card Alone?

    No, minors must show their birth certificate and student card issued by either school or college. And the student card must also have a photo on it.

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