Is It Illegal to Get a Tattoo at 12? (as of 2023)

Tattoos are now seen by individuals quite differently than they were a few decades ago.

Nowadays, getting a tattoo is more socially acceptable and even cool. However, some people continue to view tattoos as uncool and taboo, particularly when it comes to young people.

Additionally, people are getting their first tattoos at younger and younger ages.

But is getting a tattoo at 12 legal?

To answer the question, we have to look at the latest tattoo regulations in the United States.

Note: This article focuses on people living in the US only. If you’re a citizen of another country, please consult your local laws and regulations.

Is It Illegal to Get a Tattoo at 12?

No one, regardless of age, is prohibited from having a tattoo in the United States under federal law. That implies that it is up to each state to choose its own rules and regulations regarding tattoos.

The minimum age requirement across the states is 18 years. Also, you must be in possession of proper identification in order to acquire a tattoo in any US state without trouble.

However, how each state handles minors eager to get tattooed is what sets them apart.

In certain states, kids can receive tattoos with their parent’s permission, whereas in others, the youngster must be accompanied by a legal guardian. There are other states that categorically forbid children from having tattoos, whether or whether they have their parents’ permission.

12 Most Likely Too Young

According to US rules and regulations, a person must be at least 14 years old in most states before getting a tattoo. Naturally, being tattooed at this age is only permitted with parental approval and/or in the presence of the parent or legal guardian, depending on the laws in each state. Having said that, several jurisdictions do not set a minimum age for receiving a tattoo with parental permission.

Alabama, Colorado, Florida, and Kansas are some examples of states that do not mention the minimum age limit in case of parental permission.

However, if they feel the customer is too young, many tattoo artists and parlors may decline to perform the tattoo. This is due to the fact that getting a tattoo permanently alters one’s body and calls for a particular amount of maturity to ensure that the individual knows what they’re doing.

People who acquire tattoos early often come to regret the decision later in life. For this reason, many tattoo artists will decline to tattoo a person they think is too young and could later regret.

The basic conclusion is that getting a tattoo at age 12 is typically not a smart decision, even if it could theoretically be permissible in some places. Before deciding to be tattooed, we advise you to hold off until you are at least 18 years old.

Artists Unwilling to Tattoo a 12-Year Old

Finding a tattoo artist who is willing to perform the tattoo would be the next step if your parents are okay with you having a tattoo at the age of 12.

Numerous tattoo artists will decline to ink kids, regardless of parental approval, as we previously said. This is because if something goes wrong, they risk receiving substantial legal consequences.

The parents could file a lawsuit against the tattoo artist, for instance, if the artist fails to properly sanitize their tools and the youngster contracts an infection.

Some will point to their basic moral compass as the reason for declining the procedure.

Therefore, it’s crucial to keep in mind that while it may legally be allowed for a 12-year-old to get a tattoo in some jurisdictions, finding an artist who will execute the tattoo can be quite challenging.