It's no wonder many teenagers are excited to get their first tattoo. Tattoo artists have become reality TV stars, and famous actors, athletes and musicians are covered in tattoos. Body art seems to be a pretty cool thing. But the state of Oregon says "Not so fast!" If you want to get a tattoo in Oregon, you must be at least 18 years old, even if your parent would consent. And don't think you can find a sympathetic tattoo artist who's willing to look the other way. Tattoo artists face stiff fines and penalties for illegally tattooing a minor and could even lose their license.
Minimum Age for Getting a Tattoo
State law sets the minimum legal age to get a tattoo in Oregon at 18. Individual cities can, and do, set a higher minimum age. For example, the Portland City Charter prohibits tattoo artists from tattooing anyone under the age of 21. Of course, if you're 19 or 20 years old and want a tattoo that badly, you can always travel to a nearby city with a lower minimum age requirement.
Penalties for Tattooing a Minor
If you're 17 and want a tattoo in Oregon, it's not likely you'll find a tattoo artist who is willing to bend the rules for you – not even if your birthday is next week. A tattoo artist who tattoos someone under the age of 18 in violation of state law incurs a $1,000 fine for the first offense. A second offense costs $2,500 in fines, and a third offense could result in her license being revoked, as well as additional fines and penalties.
Tattoo Artist Must Check ID
It doesn't matter if you look older than 18 either. Tattoo artists are required by law to check a government-issued photo identification for every client. After confirming your age, the artist must make a copy of your ID and keep the copy in their client log along with your full legal name, address, telephone number and date of birth. The client records must also detail the date you got your tattoo, along with its size and location on your body.
You also have to sign a consent form stating that you have received and understand the information related to the risks of getting a tattoo and descriptions of possible adverse reactions, complications and side effects.
Minimum Age for Becoming a Tattoo Artist
Not only do you have to be 18 to get a tattoo, you also have to be at least 18 to become a licensed tattoo artist. As proof of identity, you must produce two forms of original identification issued by a federal, state or local government agency in the United States. You must show this identification when you sit for the licensing examination.
In addition to being over 18, you must have a high school diploma or a G.E.D. and additional education from an Oregon licensed tattooing career school. Minimum education requirements include 360 hours of training and a minimum of 50 completed procedures as an apprentice.
You must be at least 18 years old to get a tattoo in the state of Oregon, regardless of parental consent. Municipalities may set higher age requirements.
Jennifer Mueller has a J.D. from the University of Indiana, Maurer School of Law. She has been sharing her legal knowledge on the internet since 2009. Mueller has been published in the Indiana Law Journal, and her writing appears on legal websites such as LegalZoom.