Rhode Island Tattoo Laws in 2023 (Age, Fines & More)

Rhode Island is quite a state. It’s small, but it’s mighty. And there’s a lot to do here.

For example, did you know that Rhode Island is home to the oldest operating tavern in the United States? The White Horse Tavern in Newport opened its doors in 1673 and it’s still serving up drinks and good times today.

If you’re a fan of the outdoors, Rhode Island is also a great place to explore. There are plenty of hiking trails, beachfronts, and parks to check out.

Little Rhody, as it’s commonly referred to, is also home to some of the most talented tattoo artists in the country. So if you’re looking for some new ink, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for here.

With that said, there are a few things you should know about getting a tattoo in Rhode Island (or starting a career as an artist). In this article, we cover everything you need to know about the current tattoo laws in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Tattoo Laws & Regulations

The body art industry is regulated by the Rhode Island Department of Health and there are separate sets of regulations for customers and artists.

Laws for Customers

So, how old do you have to be to get a tattoo in Rhode Island?

The state isn’t any different from the majority of US regions in that it requires customers to be 18 years of age or older to get a tattoo.

Some states do allow minors to get tattoos with parental consent, but Rhode Island is not one of them. The state’s stance on the age requirement is one of the strictest in the country.

So if you’re under 18, you’ll have to wait a few more years.

Or travel to one of the two neighboring states that have much more relaxed policies – Connecticut or Massachusetts.

As of now, there are no regulations on the allowed placement of tattoos in Rhode Island. This means that you can get inked pretty much anywhere on your body.

Laws for Artists

It’s only fair to begin this section by stating that in case the age law is broken, the artist will be held accountable, not the customer.

Tattooing a minor is considered a misdemeanor in the state and is punishable by a fine of up to $300 and/or even up to 12 months in jail. In other words, it’s not worth the risk.

Apart from the age limit, there are other things that artists need to take into consideration.

For starters, all studios must be registered with the state and comply with all health and safety regulations, such as:

  • the studio must be clean and sterilize all needles and equipment
  • artists must wear gloves when tattooing
  • a new, sterile needle must be used for each customer
  • customers must be given aftercare instructions

The Rhode Island Department of Health is allowed to randomly inspect studios to ensure that they are up to par.

Artists must also complete a bloodborne pathogen course and obtain a license from the state. Tattooing without a valid license or from any other place than a registered studio is a misdemeanor as well.

When it comes to artists’ rights, an artist can refuse to tattoo anyone for any reason. But they can’t discriminate against customers based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or disability.

Some of the more frequent reasons for an artist to refuse service are:

  • if the customer is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • if the customer doesn’t have a proper ID
  • if the artist finds the design offensive in any way
  • if the artist doesn’t feel comfortable tattooing a particular body part


That’s everything you need to know about the current tattoo laws in Rhode Island.

As you can see, the state is pretty strict when it comes to customers’ age limit but artists have a lot of leeway when it comes to refusing service.

If you’re looking to get a tattoo in Rhode Island, just make sure you’re of age and have a design that the artist is comfortable with. Other than that, you should be good to go!

The information included in the article has been written with the help of official sources: