Wisconsin Tattoo Laws in 2023 (Age, Fines & More)

Wisconsin is a state that can be appreciated for so many things.

The landscape is beautiful, the people are friendly, and there’s always something to do. And the last two decades or so, the tattooing industry in Wisconsin has grown by leaps and bounds, making it a popular destination amongst ink enthusiasts.

If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo in Wisconsin, you’re in luck. There are plenty of great artists to choose from. With that said, there are also a few things you should know about Wisconsin tattoo laws before you take the plunge.

Whether you’ve been considering getting inked or starting a new career as a tattoo artist, here’s everything you need to know about the tattoo laws in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Tattoo Laws & Regulations

The fact that “The Badger State”, as it’s commonly referred to, regulates the tattoo industry shouldn’t be a surprise – the vast majority of US states do so in one way or another.

Akin to all states that have some regulations in place, Wisconsin has separate rules for customers and tattoo artists alike.

Let’s dive into both now.

Laws for Clients

When it comes to tattoo laws for customers, most states focus on the minimum age requirement. In Wisconsin, just like in all states that regulate the industry, you must be 18 years of age or older to get tattooed.

You will be asked to provide a valid form of government-issued ID that verifies your age, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID card. If you’re not able to provide one of these forms of identification, you, unfortunately, won’t be able to get tattooed.

Wisconsin tattoo laws for minors are extremely strict. While a huge chunk of states allows for tattooing minors with parental consent, this isn’t the case in Wisconsin. The law here is very black and white – you must be 18 years of age or older, period.

The only exception to the rule is when the procedure is performed by a physician in the course of his or her professional practice.

As far as the placement of tattoos goes, there are no specific regulations in Wisconsin. However, many tattoo shops have their own rules about where they will and won’t tattoo. For example, some shops may not tattoo someone’s face, hands, or neck.

It’s always best to check with the shop beforehand to see if there are any restrictions on placement.

Tattoo Laws for Artists

Considering the strict stance on age requirements, it’s hardly a surprise that artists can get in real bother for tattooing a minor, even if the parents have given their consent.

Since in Wisconsin it’s illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18, even with parental consent, an artist caught breaking the law could face up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. In other words, not worth the risk!

In terms of other regulations, Wisconsin tattoo laws for artists are pretty straightforward. All shops must obtain a Body Art Establishment License from the state, and all artists must have a Body Art Practitioner License.

To obtain these licenses, shops and artists must pass an inspection from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

A licensed tattoo artist in Wisconsin is allowed to perform the procedure only in a licensed body art establishment. Mobile tattooing is not allowed and, again, punishable by law.

All licensed tattoo shops are required to follow certain safety and sanitation guidelines. These include using new, sterilized needles for each customer, as well as disposing of all used needles in a puncture-proof container.

The shop must also have an autoclave on site to sterilize all non-disposable equipment.

In terms of rights of those working in the industry, Wisconsin tattoo laws stipulate that an artist can decline to tattoo anyone for any reason. However, they must have a good faith reason for doing so.

For example, an artist can refuse to tattoo someone who is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. If the requested tattoo design goes against the artist’s moral or religious beliefs, they can also decline.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of Wisconsin tattoo laws, let’s answer some frequently asked questions related to the subject.

Does Wisconsin regulate tattoo shops?

Yes, as we mentioned earlier, all tattoo shops in Wisconsin must be licensed by the state. This is to ensure that they are following all the necessary safety and sanitation guidelines.

How much is a tattoo license in Wisconsin?

The pricing can be fluid as it is set by each municipality, but in general, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars for the initial license. It’s best to check with your local authorities for the exact amount.

How do I get my tattoo practitioner license in Wisconsin?

First, you need to be at least 18 years of age. You will then need to pass an exam set by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Once you’ve passed the exam, you’ll be able to apply for your license.

What are the Wisconsin tattoo license requirements?

In order to obtain a tattoo license in Wisconsin, you must be at least 18 years of age and have completed an approved training program. You will also need to pass an exam set by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Do you have to be 18 to get a tattoo in Wisconsin?

Yes, you must be 18 years of age or older to get a tattoo in Wisconsin.

Can I get a tattoo at 16 in Wisconsin?

No, you must be 18 years of age or older to get a tattoo in Wisconsin.

Can you get a tattoo in Wisconsin under 18 with parental consent?

No, it is not possible to get a tattoo in Wisconsin under the age of 18, even with parental consent.

Is tattooing yourself illegal in Wisconsin?

There is no law specifically prohibiting tattooing oneself in Wisconsin. As long as you have a license and are over 18, you’re good to go.

Where are tattoos illegal?

When it comes to the US, as of now, all states allow tattoos.

Conclusion & References

Overall, Wisconsin has some pretty strict laws when it comes to tattoos, both for customers and artists. However, as long as you’re of legal age and are getting tattooed in a licensed establishment by a licensed artist, neither of the parties should have any problems.

The article you’ve just read is based on information from official sources: