Mexico Tattoo Laws in 2023 (Age Restrictions, Prices & More)

As far as the number of exquisite tourist spots and landmarks is concerned, there are not many countries globally that can compete with Mexico.

The country is endowed with a plethora of sceneries and attractions, which are capable of providing an unforgettable experience for the tourists. Some fall so in love with the country that they decide to move there permanently!

On top of being spectacularly beautiful, Mexico is a known home to thousands of ridiculously talented tattoo artists that, despite all their skills, are likely to charge you a lot less for a beautiful piece of work than their counterparts in your country. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that the spot is slowly but surely gaining a reputation as a top destination for travelers and ex-pats looking to get inked.

Whether you’re looking for a small and subtle tattoo or an intricate and detailed piece, you’ll be able to find an artist in Mexico who can bring your vision to life. With that said, Mexico, like any other country in the world, has some important regulations on the subject.

If you’re planning to get inked in the country known as “El Ombligo de la Luna” (the Navel of the Moon), stick with us for a few minutes. In today’s article, we will look at the current tattoo laws in Mexico – to make sure that you don’t mess with the law. After all, who would fancy a trip to a Mexican prison?

Without further ado, let’s go.

Mexico Tattoo Laws

The tattoo laws & regulations in Mexico apply both to clientele, as well as people performing the tattooing procedure.

Tattoo Regulations for Clients

The most important law is that getting a tattoo in Mexico is absolutely legal, as long as you’re over the age of 18. The minimum age is similar to most states in the United States, as well as most countries worldwide.

There are some exceptions to that rule, however, with European countries such as Scotland and Austria allowing the procedure to go ahead from the age of 16, while on the other end of the spectrum we have places like Bahrain or Singapore that penalize tattooing people under the age of 21.

With that said, not all hope is lost even if you haven’t hit the magic number of 18 yet. As stated in Article 268 Bis-1 (Articulo 268 Bis-1) of the Chapter VIII (Capitulo VIII) of the General Health Law (Ley General de Salud), minors under the age of 18 can still get inked as long as they provide written consent from their parent(s) or a legal guardian. This is to ensure that the youngster understands the implications and consequences of getting a tattoo. The same goes for people with mental disabilities.

In the case of both minors and people with mental disabilities, it is the tattoo artist’s responsibility to check whether the client has all the necessary documentation before starting the procedure.

With that said, there have been cases of tattoo artists refusing to tattoo a minor even with written parental consent. They usually do it to avoid trouble in case the parental consent turns out to be fake. So, if you’re a minor and you’re looking to get inked, it would be best to bring your parent or guardian with you to the tattoo shop.

Interestingly enough, in case the law is broken (the tattooing procedure is performed on a minor without parental consent), the client doesn’t have to worry about committing a crime and the penalties that go with it. Instead, it’s the tattoo artist who will face the legal consequences. On top of facing a hefty fine, they could also get their tattoo license suspended – or even revoked.

Tattoo Regulations for Artists

The General Health Law of Mexico clearly states that all tattoo artists, in order to perform the procedure legally, have to be licensed. What’s more, the session needs to be performed at a qualified tattoo parlor that has all the necessary permits.

All tattoo shops in Mexico need to be registered with the adequate authorities and have to follow a number of strict regulations, such as:

  • The shop needs to be clean and sterile
  • All needles used during the procedure need to be new, disposable, and sterile
  • The artist needs to wear gloves
  • The artist needs to use a fresh, sterile needle for each client
  • After the procedure is finished, the artist needs to sanitize the area

If you’re looking for a tattoo shop in Mexico, make sure that it meets all of the above-mentioned requirements.

States Exceptions Possible

It’s important to be aware that, just like the US, Mexico consists of separate states. There are 32 of them.

While most of the health laws passed in each state are very similar, it’s not impossible for some exceptions and minor differences in selected regions.

Officially, all the laws and regulations concerning tattoos are established at the State level, and there is no uniformity for them in Mexico.

Anti-Discrimination Act for the Tattooed

Gone are the days when tattoos were mostly associated with sailors, prisons, and gangs. Before the 1990s, having ink on your body meant someone would have done it in jail or reform school. In recent years, however, tattoos have become more and more popular, with people from all walks of life – including celebrities, lawyers, and politicians – getting inked.

As things stand, it’s estimated that one in 10 people in the country has at least one tattoo, which means that around 12 million Mexican residents are inked. Over the years, many people living in Mexico have reported discrimination while looking for jobs linked to their body art.

This has, thankfully, lead to many states passing an Anti-Discrimination Act (Ley para Prevenir y Eliminar la Discriminación) for the tattooed which now protects the inked community from job discrimination.

The law stipulates that employers cannot refuse to hire a person because they have tattoos.

Getting Tattooed In Mexico: FAQ

Below find some of the commonly posted questions on the subject of Mexico tattoo laws and getting inked in the country.

  • Can I get a tattoo at 15 in Mexico?

It’s possible to get tattoed at 15 in Mexico but only with written consent from your parent or legal guardian. Some tattoo artists might require the said caretaker to accompany you throughout the procedure.

  • Do I need a permit to open a tattoo shop in Mexico?

Yes, you need a permit to open a tattoo shop in Mexico. All tattoo shops in the country have to be registered and follow a number of health and safety regulations.

  • Can I get fired for having a tattoo in Mexico?

No, you can’t get fired for having a tattoo in Mexico. In recent times, the country passed an Anti-Discrimination Act which protects the inked community from job discrimination.

  • Are tattoos cheaper in Mexico?

On average, tattoos in Mexico are 20-30% cheaper than in the US. This will vary from city to city and from salon to salon, however.

  • How old do you have to be to get a tattoo in Mexico with parental consent?

The country, nor any of its states, have specified the minimum age for getting a tattoo in Mexico. Hence, in case you’re a minor, all you need is parental consent. In extreme cases, the legal guardian will have to sit with you throughout the session.

  • How much is a small tattoo in Mexico?

The prices will vary from city to city, and from salon to salon. However, it’s possible to get tiny ink work even for as little as $10-$15.

  • What are tattoo prices in Cancun?

Tattoo prices in Cancun vary depending on the size, complexity, and placement of the tattoo, but you can expect to pay around $40-$80 USD per hour of work.