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South Dakota

Interested in establishing your domicile in South Dakota? Take a look at the steps below to understand what tasks and forms should be completed.
The information contained on these pages is not to be considered legal advice. You should always check with your attorney to confirm specific state laws and how they might apply to your personal situation.

South Dakota is a state that has taken an extra step and created an “exception” clause for non-traditional residents (full-time RVers) often referred to as “nomads.” Here is an excerpt taken from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety website:

“People who travel full-time – If you are using a South Dakota mail forwarding address, you will need to complete the Residency Affidavit.  You will also need to provide one document proving your temporary South Dakota address (a hotel/motel, campground or RV park receipt no more than one year old) and ONE DOCUMENT no more than ONE year old proving your personal mailbox (PMB) service address (receipt from the PMB business or a piece of mail with your PMB address on it).”

The exception language (above) that South Dakota built in for full-time RVers applies for Driver’s Licenses, Voter’s Registrations, and Vehicle Registrations. Remember that your “Residency Affidavit” is required and has strict penalties for perjury. We always recommend that you contact your attorney or seek legal counsel if you have any questions. 

Becoming a Resident

Note: As an Escapees mail service member, you may elect to use “Escapees: Home” as an additional mail service benefit. This service is specifically geared for full-time RVers who have sold their brick and mortar homes. Escapees: Home allows you to use our Box Elder, South Dakota satellite center as your physical address for state-specific documents (such as driver license, voter registration, and vehicle registrations.)

  • If using Escapees satellite center in Box Elder, SD, your county would be Pennington County.
  • Contact professionals, e.g. lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, financial planners, and insurance agents, and social and/or religious organizations to begin your relationship with them.
  • Make appointments well in advance of your arrival as sometimes these professionals book up quickly.
  • Contact an attorney to update estate planning documents in accordance with the laws of South Dakota, or create estate planning documents. The attorney may begin preparing those documents in advance of your arrival.
  • Obtain quotes for vehicle and health insurance plans.  Please note that quotes from insurance agents typically expire within a few weeks of receiving them, so time this according to your arrival date. 

Driver’s License Requirements: 

  • Appear in-person for a photo at the Pennington County Driver Exam Station. (locations by city).
  • Surrender previous driver’s license
  • Pass a vision screening test
  • Provide a certified copy of your birth certificate, valid passport, valid permanent resident card, valid employment authorization document, or unexpired valid U.S. Visa. If your name has changed you will need to provide proof of the name change.
  • Provide a non-altered Social Security Card or Medicare card (with complete social security number).
  • Bring proof of your residential address:
    1. Residency Affidavit
    2. Campground/RV park receipt or hotel/motel receipt
    3. One document (not more than one year old) proving your personal mailbox (PMB) address. Escapees Mail Service members will receive an email with the South Dakota address.

Complete details for South Dakota Driver License Requirements are available at: https://dps.sd.gov/licensing/driver_licensing/default.aspx

Voter Registration Requirements:

  • Complete the South Dakota Voter Registration Form
  • A residence must be established, but a South Dakota driver’s license is not required.

Vehicle Registration Requirements:

  • Must be registered within 90 days of arrival in the state
  • Complete the Application for Motor Vehicle Title and Registration (MV-608)
  • Attach the out-of-state title to the application
  • If applicable, complete a damage disclosure (MV-610)
  • For a recreational vehicle, submit the following:
    • Purchase Order, Sales Contract, or Bill of Sale
    • Manufacturers Statement of Origin

Submit complete application with attached documents to the CountyTreasurer’s Office with the appropriate registration fee. Additional Title and License information.

  • File forms with various state agencies.
  • Pay applicable taxes.
  • Meet with aforementioned professionals.
  • To the extent that is practical, bring your personal possessions, which are not housed in your RV, to your new county of domicile and store them there.
  •  

Compiled per gratis
Shawn Loring
Loring & Associates, PLLC
100 Rainbow Drive
Livingston, TX 77399
800-260-1615

Voting Information

Registering to vote in South Dakota is a relatively simple process. As mentioned in other sections, South Dakota has built in a special provision for full-time travelers (who are truly nomads) to meet the necessary residency/domicile requirements:

“People who travel full-time – If you are using a South Dakota mail forwarding address, you will need to complete the Residency Affidavit.  You will also need to provide one document proving your temporary South Dakota address (a hotel/motel, campground or RV park receipt no more than one year old) and ONE DOCUMENT no more than ONE year old proving your personal mailbox (PMB) service address (receipt from the PMB business or a piece of mail with your PMB address on it).”

  • Qualify:
    • Must be a United States Citizen
    • Reside in South Dakota – Residency Affidavit
    • Be 18 years old on or before the next election
    • Not currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction
    • Not be judged mentally incompetent by a court of law
  • Complete the South Dakota – Voter Registration Form

Note: A residence must be established, but a South Dakota driver’s license is not required.

You may register online: http://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/voting/register-to-vote/default.aspx

You may also register at one of the following locations:

  • County Auditor’s Office
  • City Financial Office
  • Driver’s License Station

Rapid City Locations: http://docs.pennco.org/docs/AO/vote/reglocations.pdf

Once you have registered to vote, you may apply for a ballot or request an absentee ballot application if you’re traveling. You may download an absentee ballot request online. Be sure to allow enough time to receive the ballot and mail it back in!

For more information on voting in South Dakota, go to:  http://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/voting/default.aspx

South Dakota – Elected Officials Information

SD Democratic Party
PO Box 1485
Sioux Falls, SD 57101
Phone 605-271-5405
Fax 605-271-5405
democrats@sddp.org
www.sddp.org

SD Republican Party
PO Box 1099
Pierre SD 57501
Phone 605-224-7347
Fax 605-224-7349
administrator@southdakotagop.com
www.southdakotagop.com

SD Libertarian Party
Party By-Laws and officers
Upcoming Election Information

Driver's License Information

In order to obtain a South Dakota driver’s license the first time, you will need to appear in person for your photo. Residents renewing or obtaining a new driver’s license must bring original documents that prove your identity, social security number and residential address.

If you are a full-time RVer, there are some residency exceptions recognized by the State to assist you with your proof of residency:

“People who travel full-time – If you are using a South Dakota mail forwarding address, you will need to complete the Residency Affidavit.  You will also need to provide one document proving your temporary South Dakota address (a hotel/motel, campground or RV park receipt no more than one year old) and ONE DOCUMENT no more than ONE year old proving your personal mailbox (PMB) service address (receipt from the PMB business or a piece of mail with your PMB address on it).”

Search South Dakota Driver Exam Stations locations by city. You are not required to go to Pennington County.

  • Certified copy of birth certificate, valid passport, valid permanent resident card, valid employment authorization document, or unexpired valid U.S. Visa. If your name has changed you will need to provide proof of the name change.
  • Original Social Security Card or Medicare card (with complete social security number). Go to acceptable documents for more details.
  • Proof of residential address:
    1. Residency Affidavit
    2. Campground/RV park receipt or hotel/motel receipt
    3. One document not more than one year old proving your personal mailbox (PMB) address. Escapees Mail Service members will receive a membership card with the South Dakota address and join date.
  • South Dakota driver’s licenses are typically valid for five years.

Complete details for South Dakota Driver License Requirements

South Dakota Driver’s License Manual

South Dakota Department of Public Safety

Helpful Resources

For Titles, Motor Vehicles Registrations, and Taxes:

County Treasurer’s Office
130 Kansas City St., Suite 250 
Rapid City, SD 57701 
605-394-2163

For Driver’s License Exams: 

Rapid City Driver Exam Station
1301 E. Catron Blvd., Room 105
Rapid city, SD 57701
800-952-3696

For Voter Registration: 

Pennington County Auditor’s Office
130 Kansas City Street, Suite 230
Rapid City, SD 57701
605-394-2153

Pennington County Contacts

Pennington County
http://www.pennco.org/

Rapid City Chamber of Commerce
http://www.rapidcitychamber.com/

Rapid City Economic Development
http://www.rapiddevelopment.com/

Rapid City Visitor Information
http://www.visitrapidcity.com/

Box Elder South Dakota News
http://www.topix.com/city/box-elder-sd

South Dakota State
http://sd.gov/