Body Art Practitioners: FAQs

Licensing Questions:

I have been a professional tattoo artist or body piercer prior to 2008. Do I still have to complete an apprenticeship?

As a substitution for an apprenticeship, you may submit employment records proving completion of at least 1500 hours of actual experience (NMAC 16.36.2.14) prior to May 16, 2008. If you cannot submit this proof, then you will have to complete an apprenticeship.

What are the requirements for a tattoo or body piercing apprenticeship?

Apprentice Licensure Requirements:

  • Completed apprentice application (NMAC 16.36.2.8).
  • Fee for initial apprentice license of $50.00 (NMAC 16.36.6.8).
  • Current 2×2 original color Passport type photograph (NMAC 16.36.2.8).
  • Proof of age (NMAC 16.36.2.8).
  • Place of employment as a practitioner (NMAC 16.36.2.8).
  • Jurisprudence Exam with a passing score of at least 75% (NMAC 16.36.2.8).
  • Complete sponsor application (NMAC 16.36.2.8).

Apprentice Sponsor Licensure Requirements:

  • Completed apprentice sponsor application.
  • Current 2×2 original color Passport type photograph.
  • Fee for initial sponsor license of $100.00 (NMAC 16.36.6.8).
  • Board approved curriculum. This does not include an identical copy of the curriculum found in the rules (NMAC 16.36.2.15).
  • Proof of five or more years of legally practicing as a tattoo artist or body piercer (NMAC 16.36.2.15).
  • Holds a New Mexico tattoo or body piercing license (NMAC 16.36.2.15)
How do I change my mailing address for my practitioner’s license?

This can be done by email: nmbody.art@state.nm.us or by submitting a written request to P.O. Box 25101, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504. After we receive the request we will update your file.

What do I need to do if I have not received my license in a timely manner?

Notify the Board office by emailing nmbody.art@state.nm.us. If you do not have access to a computer you may call 505-476-4622. Our staff will review the matter and contact you with an answer within 24 hours.

I have a tattoo or piercing license in another state. Is there a way I can get this license transferred to New Mexico?

An applicant for licensure by reciprocity must meet all the requirements of the Act and applicable rules *(see the bullet points below). A body artist licensed in another jurisdiction must submit a verification of licensure to prove that the artist holds a current license in good standing within his or her jurisdiction of licensure (NMAC 16.36.2.14).

*Requirements for Tattoo Artists and Body Piercers

  • Complete Tattoo/Piercing application (NMAC 16.36.2.9).
  • $100.00 practitioner original license fee (NMAC 16.36.6.8).
  • Recent passport type colored photograph (NMAC 16.36.2.9).
  • Board approved log to verify the completion of 1400 hour approved apprenticeship. Out of State body artists must submit proof of meeting all training requirements equivalent to the requirements set forth in the Statute (NM Body Art Safe Practice Act) and the Rules (NMAC 16.36.2). A body artist licensed in another jurisdiction must submit a verification of licensure. As substitution for this apprenticeship, applicants engaged in tattoo or body piercing before May 16, 2008 may submit employment records to prove completion of at least 1500 hours of actual experience (NMAC 16.36.2.14).
  • Copies of certificates for CPR, first aid and bloodborne taken within the last year (NMAC 16.36.2.13).
  • Minimum of ten (10) original photographs of healed tattoos or piercings, which the applicant has personally performed (NMAC 16.36.2.14). Must be attached to 8 ½ X 11 sized paper.
  • Minimum of three signed testaments from previous clients (NMAC 16.36.2.14).
  • Proof of at least 18 years of age (NMAC 16.36.2.9).
  • Place of employment as a practitioner (NMAC 16.36.2.9).
  • Passing score of at least 75% on the New Mexico jurisprudence exam (NMAC 16.36.2.9).
  • Passing score of at least 75% on the national tattoo or piercing theory exam (NMAC 16.36.2.14).
How do I know if the training I received for permanent make-up is “Board-approved”?

The Board will review the curriculum for permanent make-up training prior to initiation of the program and compare it to the requirements set forth in NMAC 16.36.2.16. Please be advised that statute prohibits practice without licensure (61-17B-5).

My license has been expired for more than one year but less than five years. What do I need to do to get my license current?

License reinstatement requirements:

  • Complete Reinstatement Application (NMAC 16.36.2.17);
  • Jurisprudence exam with a passing score of at least 75% (NMAC 16.36.2.17);
  • Proof of completion of a Bloodborne Pathogens course taken within the last year (NMAC 16.36.2.17);
  • Proof of current first aid and CPR (NMAC 16.36.2.17);
  • You must submit a reinstatement fee (NMAC 16.36.2.17). The reinstatement fee is $100.00 for each year your license has been expired plus a $35.00 late fee for each year that your license has been expired. (Example: A license that expired 9/01/2013):

9/01/2013 to 9/01/2014 = $135.00
9/01/2014 to 9/01/2015 = $135.00
9/01/2015 to 9/01/2016 = $135.00

In this case you add all three amounts to give you a total reinstatement fee of $405.00.

Sanitation Questions:

How can I file a complaint about the safety and/or cleanliness of a body art business or a body artist?

You can find the official Complaint Form under the Forms and Applications tab. This form must be filled out with as much detail as possible, notarized, and mailed to the New Mexico Board of Body Art Practitioners at P.O. Box 25101 in Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504.

How long are autoclaved items sterile for? Should I write the date these items were sterilized or the expiration date?

Properly packaged, sterilized and stored equipment can be stored no more than one year. Paper peel-packs must be dated with an expiration date not to exceed one year (NMAC 16.36.5.9).

Can a Statim autoclave be in the work area?

No, all facilities that reprocess reusable instruments shall have an equipment cleaning room that is physically separated from the work stations (NMAC 16.36.5.9).

Do I have to have a separate room for the sink and ultrasonic, and a separate room for the autoclave?

All facilities that reprocess reusable instruments shall have an equipment cleaning room that is physically separated from the work stations (NMAC 16.36.5.9).

Inspection Questions:

How do I know if the person who showed up in my place of business is an actual New Mexico State Inspector?

State inspectors are trained to properly identify themselves upon entering an establishment. Always feel free to ask for credentials to verify and identify the inspector. If you are still unsure you can contact the Board Office at 505-476-4622 to verify the identity of the individual. (Please be aware NM State Inspectors may not accept any form of payment, either cash, check, or credit card. Any payment of fees must be sent to the Board Office.)

Does a body artist need to have their license posted when temporarily working in another establishment?

Yes, all licenses, except identification licenses, issued by the board shall be posted where clearly visible to the public at all times (NMAC 16.36.1.9).

What information is required on the release forms? How long do I need to retain these forms?

The following information is required on release forms. Client’s name; date of birth; address; date of procedure; name of licensee who performed the procedure(s); the type of procedure performed and its location on the client’s body; the signature of the client, and if the client is a minor, written proof of parental or legal guardian presence and consent; specific ink color(s) applied, and, when available, the manufacturer, catalogue identification number or supplier invoice of each color used (NMAC 16.36.5.11).

Release forms must be retained for at least three years (NMAC 16.36.5.11).

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