​If you are thinking about getting a tattoo, it is important to find a licensed establishment with properly certified employees. Wake County helps you in this process by making sure that tattoo establishments are in compliance with North Carolina laws and tattoo artists are properly licensed.

Frequently Asked Tattoo Questions

Q. How do I start a tattoo business in Wake County?

A. Read these Steps to Apply for a Tattoo Permit. 


Q. How do I apply for a tattooing permit?

A. Fill out and submit the Tattoo Application. The application can be emailed to escustomersupport@wakegov.com or faxed to 919-743-4772.


Q. How much is the fee to become a licensed tattoo artist?

A. There is an Annual Permit Fee of $300 for both new and renewals. A Temporary Permit Fee (valid for 1–14 consecutive days in conjunction with an event) is $100. Payments can be made online through Permit Portal (please see the how-to guide above), mailed in check, or in person at Wake County Office Building, Suite 101, 336 Fayetteville St., Raleigh.

Q.  What risks are involved in tattooing?
A.  Infection – Unsterile tattooing equipment and needles can transmit bloodborne illnesses such as Hepatitis B and C, tetanus, TB and HIV. It is extremely important to make sure that all tattooing equipment is clean and sterilized before use. In addition, the person who receives a tattoo must be sure to care for the tattooed area properly during the first week or so after pigments are injected.
Removal problems – Despite advances in laser technology, removing a tattoo is a painstaking process, usually involving several treatments and considerable expense. Complete removal without scarring may be impossible.
Allergic reactions – Although allergic reactions are rare, when they do happen they may be particularly troublesome because the pigments can be hard to remove. Occasionally, people may develop an allergic reaction to tattoos they have had for years.
Keloid Formation – If you are prone to developing keloids – scars that grow beyond normal boundaries – you are at risk of keloid formation from a tattoo.
MRI complications – There are reports of people with tattoos or permanent makeup who experienced swelling or burning in the affected areas when they underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This seems to appear only rarely and apparently without lasting effects. Individuals with tattoos or permanent makeup should inform the radiologist or technician of this fact in order to take appropriate precautions, avoid complications and ensure the best results.
Q.  Are tattoos safe?
A.  Yes, as long as you go to a reputable artist who is following all recommended safety precautions; however, it is important to remember that tattoos are not risk-free. The health risks associated with tattooing are small if appropriate disinfection and sterilization techniques are used.

Q.  Where can I find more information on tattoos?

A.  The State of North Carolina has many different Web links that provide more information.