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How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Tattoos? A Breakdown by Each State

by Sherri Owens

You have to be 18 or over to get a tattoo in most states - however, there are several states that will let you get a tattoo as a minor if you have written permission from a parent or guardian.

As tattoos are getting more popular, an increasing number of teens are eager to get them. So, a lot of you are probably wondering how old do you have to be to get tattoos. Well, as a tattoo artist who has worked in many different states, I am here to give you an answer.

Here is what you need to know about getting a tattoo as a minor, including which states have banned it outright.

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How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Tattoo?

In general, the minimum age to provide consent to get a tattoo is 18 years old. So, you have to be a legal adult before you can get a tattoo.

It's typically illegal for a minor, someone under the age of 18, to get a tattoo. However, in certain states, guardian or parental consent is enough for you to get a tattoo, even if you are underage.

Tattoo Artist Creating a Tree Tattoo on the Arm

There are other states in which it is completely illegal to get a tattoo regardless of whether or not you have informed consent from your parent or legal guardian.

In these instances, even having a parent or legal guardian present will not be enough.

Which States Allow You to Get Tattoos Before 18, With Consent?

There are several states that allow you to get a tattoo as long as you have the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

Here is a list of these states along with the kind of guardian or parental consent that is required:

Alabama

According to Alabama body art laws, Alabama minors require written consent from either a parent or a legal guardian. For the written parental consent, the parent or legal guardian has to be present along with the minor.

The parent or legal guardian must sign their informed consent document in front of the tattoo artist or the employer of the artist.

Arizona

In Arizona, written permission from the parent or legal guardian is required for someone younger than the minimum age. In addition to this, the parent or legal guardian is required to be present during the procedure.

Arkansas

Minors require prior written consent from a parent or legal guardian. In addition to parental consent, the parent or legal guardian must be present when the minor is getting a tattoo.

Colorado

Colorado minors require written parental consent or consent from a guardian before they can get a tattoo.

Connecticut

Minors need to get written consent from their parent or legal guardian.

Delaware

Minors need to bring guardian or parental consent in the form of written consent. As you provide written consent, you will also need to provide identification.

Florida

In Florida, minors cannot be tattooed legally without parental consent. However, written consent alone isn't enough. You require notarized consent and to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Georgia

Georgia has quite a few rules when it comes to the tattooing of minors. If you're not at the minimum age of consent, you have to get a guardian's or parental consent.

Your parent or legal guardian must be present in person to provide this written consent. They will also be required to provide photo identification or government issued identification.

Those under the minimum age can only be tattooed by a licensed osteopath or technician or someone who is working directly under a licensed osteopath or technician.

If you are under the age of 16, you need to get approval from a licensed physician.

Hawaii

If you live in Hawaii and are below the minimum age, you require written consent from a parent or legal guardian.

Idaho

In Idaho, teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 can get a tattoo with parental consent. Individuals below 14 can't get a tattoo under any circumstances.

Not only do you need written consent from a parent or legal guardian, but they must be present at the time you're getting the tattoo.

Artist Working on His Tattoo Design on the Tablet

Kansas

If you are under the minimum age, you have to get parental consent if you want to get a tattoo in Kansas. The parent or legal guardian has to provide written notarized consent. They must also be present during the procedure.

If you're taking a guardian with you, you have to provide proof of their guardianship.

There are some rumors about married Kansas minors being allowed to get tattoos without parental consent. However, there is no such law stating this.

Kentucky

If Kentucky minors wish to get a tattoo, they have to be at least 16 years of age. In addition to this, a parent or guardian should consent.

It must be notarized written consent and contain the following information:

  • The name of the parent or legal guardian
  • A government issued photo ID number
  • The address and phone number
  • The name of the minor
  • The date of birth of the minor child
  • A government issued photo ID number of the minor, if possible
  • A statement that the parent or legal guardian is aware of the tattoo procedure and gives their consent for the procedure
  • The signature of the parent or legal guardian
  • The date of the signature of the parent or legal guardian

Louisiana

In Louisiana, if you want to get a tattoo or body piercing as a minor, you need to bring your parent or guardian to the shop with you. They must provide their consent at that point.

Michigan

In Michigan, if you are a minor, you have to get written consent from your parent or legal guardian. The minor's parent or guardian also has to provide evidence of their relationship to the minor.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, you are required to get the consent of a parent before you can get a tattoo. Either a custodial or noncustodial parent can sign written consent.

However, there is nothing in the law mentioning a legal guardian.

Missouri

Missouri minors can get a tattoo with parental consent. The parent or guardian's consent must be given in the presence of the person tattooing you or another employee of the shop.

Montana

Montana minors have to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian in person. Your parent or guardian also should remain with you until the tattoo procedure is completed.

Nebraska

If you live in the state of Nebraska, you have to get written consent from a parent or guardian before you can get a tattoo.

Nevada

According to Nevada state law, if you are under the age of 18, you have to get written consent from a parent or legal guardian. You also have to provide proof of your relationship to your parent or legal guardian.

Artist Injecting a Forearm Tattoo

New Jersey

In New Jersey, you have to get prior written consent from a parent or legal guardian if you are a minor.

New Mexico

New Mexico minors cannot be tattooed without parental consent, although the consent of a legal guardian will work as well.

North Dakota

North Dakota minors can get a tattoo as long as their parent or guardian fills out the consent forms. The adult must be present during the procedure.

Ohio

Minors in Ohio can only be tattooed if they have the permission of their parent or guardian. This individual must also be present at the shop.

Oregon

A parent or legal guardian must provide written consent before a minor can be tattooed. They must also provide proof of identity.

Pennsylvania

You need to get consent from a parent or guardian. They must also be present at the time of getting the tattoo.

South Dakota

Minors require written consent for them to be tattooed within state lines.

Tennessee

Minor over the age of 16 can get a tattoo but their parent must be present. This is typically only allowed if the minor has an existing tattoo that they would like to cover up.

Texas

In Texas, a minor's parent needs to provide written consent and must be present for the tattoo. The adult also has to believe that the tattoo is in the best interest of the minor. It is only allowed for those who want to cover an existing tattoo, particularly one that is considered inappropriate or obscene.

Utah

Utah minors have to get permission from their parent or legal guardian before they can get a tattoo.

Vermont

Vermont minors must get written consent from their parent or legal guardian to get a tattoo.

Virginia

Minor needs their parent or legal guardian to be present during the procedure.

West Virginia

West Virginia minors require written consent from a parent or legal guardian.

Wyoming

Parents need to provide verbal consent for their minor to get a tattoo. They must also be present.

Tattoo Artist Preparing His Tools

Which States Have Completely Banned the Tattooing of Minors?

In the following states, tattoo artists are forbidden to tattoo minors:

California

Despite being rather liberal when it comes to most things, the laws regarding tattoos are pretty strict for minors. It is illegal for a minor to get a tattoo regardless of parental consent.

Illinois

In the state of Illinois, it is completely illegal for anyone other than a medical professional or a licensed physician to tattoo minors. Body modification will only be allowed, provided that there is a medical reason for it.

You can't get a tattoo even with verbal consent or written notarized consent from your parent or legal guardian. Minors are not allowed in a tattoo shop unless they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Iowa

In Iowa, it is illegal for a tattoo artist to tattoo minors. If you're under the minimum age, you can't be tattooed, even if you have a signed consent form from your parent or legal guardian. Having physical parental consent will not help your case either.

Maine

It is not possible for a minor to get a tattoo in the state of Maine, even if they have the consent of a parent or guardian.

The body piercing laws are different - you can get an ear piercing if you have the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

Maryland

The law in Maryland is quite strict, particularly in Baltimore. Artists can't provide minors with a tattoo, even if they get the consent of a parent.

What's more, the Health Department receives complaints of the tattooing of minors and they take action based on these reports.

Floral Tattoo on Woman's Leg

Massachusetts

It is illegal for minors to be tattooed in the state of Massachusetts. Based on the regulations set for businesses, this holds true even if you have the consent of a parent.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, minors can't be tattooed, even with parental consent.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire minors cannot be tattooed in any capacity. Even providing parental consent will not be considered an exemption.

What's more, anyone caught tattooing a minor could be charged with child endangerment.

New York

In New York, it is illegal for a minor to get a tattoo. Getting consent from a parent or guardian will not change this.

North Carolina

It is illegal for a minor in North Carolina to get a tattoo, regardless of whether or not they have parental consent.

Oklahoma

According to Oklahoma law, no minor is allowed to get a tattoo - parental consent doesn't matter here.

Rhode Island

Minors cannot be tattooed, even with parental consent.

Tattooist Designing a Colorful Tattoo on Paper

South Carolina

Minors cannot be tattooed in South Carolina.

Washington

It is illegal to tattoo a minor in Washington, even if they do have parental consent.

Wisconsin

It is illegal to tattoo a minor unless it is by a physician in the course of their professional practice.

This is what you need to know about where you can and can't get a tattoo as a minor.

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