Body Art Facility Licenses

Public Act 149, which was enacted in December of 2007, requires that individuals shall not tattoo, brand, or perform body piercing on another individual unless that tattooing, branding, or body piercing occurs at a body art facility licensed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Owners or operators of body art facilities will be required to apply for a body art facility license through MDHHS.

Body art is becoming increasingly popular and the implementation of PA 149 sets statewide requirements for body art facilities aimed at decreasing the risk of transmission of bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Licenses are issued by MDHHS after a satisfactory inspection by the local health department or their authorized contractor from another local health department.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan performs inspections for licensure for Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego. HDNW also provides inspection services by contract with District Health Department #4 for licensure in Alpena, Cheboygan, Montmorency, and Presque Isle counties.

Exemptions from Body Art Licensing:
› State of Michigan licensed physicians (MD or DO) or dentists who utilize body art procedures as part of patient treatment, as well as other licensed health care professionals working in the same office/health care facility as that physician and under the direct supervision of that physician.
› Facilities and individuals that only provide ear piercing services.

Licensure steps:
1. Review the Public Act 149, Requirements for Body Art Facilities, and Frequently Asked Questions here.

2. Apply for a license from MDHHS at the following link under Apply for a Body Art License. Include your three year licensure fee when submitting.

3. When MDHHS has received the licensure fee they will submit an inspection form to the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.

You will receive a package of information from the Health Department along with a bill for the annual inspection fee. Inspection fees are charged by the Health Department for providing the inspection service. MDHHS does not fund or reimburse the Health Department for performing inspections. Inspection fees are set by the local Board of Health.

2019 Fees:
Temporary Inspection     $145.00
Plan Review (for new facility prior to opening) $174.00

4. The inspector from the Health Department will contact you to schedule an inspection. The inspection fee must be paid prior to inspection.

5. Satisfactory inspection results are communicated back to MDHHS by the inspector so that MDHHS may issue the license.

Complaints regarding body art facilities may be submitted by filling out a complaint form at your local health department office, or by faxing a completed and signed complaint form to 231-547-6238, attn: Scott Kendzierski. Click here to access the Complaint Form.

Note that complaints regarding body art facilities/operators/artists must be pertinent to the safe performance of body art procedures - such as unlicensed facility, facility cleanliness, proper hygenic practices, safe operation, underage client without parental consent, intoxicated client/operator, disease transmission, post-procedure complications, danger to public health and similar issues. The Health Department does not investigate complaints regarding the quality of workmanship or other aspects of the body art procedure itself where such quality issue does not endanger the client - such as misspellings or differences of opinion regarding procedure placement/orientation, artistic or other issues.