This is the second half of a series for full-timers who are planning on making South Dakota their state of residence. If you missed the first half please read it first.
Disclaimer: This information was correct to the best of my knowledge when this post was published in November 2012, but laws and prices (and links) change all the time. South Dakota no longer holds quite the cost advantage for becoming a resident as it did in 2012 when I first “moved” here, but it’s still not a bad option. If you’ve noticed any discrepancies between what I’ve written below and what you’ve found to be true since then, please let me know so I can update it. Thanks. Last updated 9/18/17.
What you need for mail forwarding:
I’m arranging these all in a bulleted format so that you can copy the text into your favorite processor, print it off, and cross out things as you complete them.
- The company’s agreement/order form (each company’s is different, for My Dakota Address they use this (this link is a direct download, the rest of these are not) one. Filling it out is pretty self explanatory, basically you mark off which package you want and then agree to their terms and services by signing on the dotted line. If you’re paying by card that information also goes on this form.
- Postal Form 1583. Also called the USPS Application of Delivery of Mail through Agent. Please read the directions for filling this out. My Dakota Address had a sample one posted up to show what you needed to fill out where, that can be found here.
Postal Form 1583 essentially gives your chosen mail forwarding company permission to handle your mail, but you’ll need two forms of identification and to sign it in the presence of an Agent or Notary Public for it to be viable. If you don’t fill this form out right it’ll delay your mail forwarding.
Directly on the form it’ll tell you what forms of identification you need to take with you for the Agent or Notary to see, but I’ll post them here too:
“valid driver’s license or state non-driver’s identification card; armed forces, government, university, or recognized corporate identification card; passport, alien registration card or certificate of naturalization; current lease, mortgage or Deed of Trust; voter or vehicle registration card; or a home or vehicle insurance policy. A photocopy of your identification may be retained by agent for verification.” Also, at least one of the forms of identification needs to have your photo on it!
I used my driver’s license and my vehicle registration card. At this point in the process you aren’t a South Dakota Resident yet, and your forms of identification (and your address that goes into box 7a) will be your old address. Notice that it also says photocopies may be retained. What I did was got photocopies of these two things (along with the photocopied stuff I needed for vehicle registration – see below!) at Staples before going in to the notary, it cost about $2.00.
You can do a google search for Notary Public in your city to figure out where to find one. I went to a U.S. Post office for mine. Fill out the form and take your 2 forms of identification (and photocopies) in with you, and sign the form in the presence of the notary. They’ll sign the line they need to, then send it out to where it needs to go. Congratulations! Step 1 is now complete.
If all you need is mail forwarding and you aren’t switching to South Dakota as your domicile you don’t need to go any farther than this.
What you need for vehicle registration:
- If you’re going to have the mail forwarding company get the title and registration for you, you’ll need to fill out a Power of Attorney form, if you’re going to do it yourself in person, you won’t need this.
- The SD Application for Motor Vehicle Title and Registration. One per vehicle/RV, trailers/5th wheels use this form too.
- The original Title, or Manufacturers Statement of Origin (if new) properly transferred in your name for all vehicles. The make, model, and color should be on this.
- A Bill of Sale, or purchase order or sales agreement for all vehicles. (For the purchase price and proof that you’ve already paid at least 4% excise tax in another state – if you haven’t you’ll be sending in more money too.)
- Something official that shows the dry (empty) weight of the vehicles, as the dry weight is what the license fees are based off of. The Title might have this, the Bill of Sale might too. If it’s nowhere in those documents you’ll need a photo of the VIN sticker, in RV’s this might be on the outside or inside, in passenger vehicles you can usually find it on the driver’s side door. A copy of a brochure for the RV that lists the dry weight in a specs section would work too.
- The current odometer reading for all applicable vehicles
- Your driver’s license. If you’re mailing it in you’ll need to mail a copy – you can photocopy this when you’re getting your 2 forms of identification for mail forwarding done.
- If you do not have your South Dakota driver’s license yet, you’ll also need your Social Security card (or a copy if you’re mailing it in (this brings the total number of photocopied things needed for this project up to 4) and a SD Affidavit Claiming Lack of Residence Post Office Address.
- However much money you owe. See Part 1 for the list of fees.
Phew! Done with that part. You’ll notice you have more work to do if your mailing it in before going to South Dakota to get your driver’s license. Since I had time before going to Coffeyville to work, and wanted to get residency set up before I starting working, I did my vehicle registration in person. I also went to the DMV to get my driver’s license first so that I’d have less paperwork to deal with.
If you’re going to go do your vehicle registration in person, you can find out where to go at each mail forwarding company’s website, but it’ll be at the county treasury, which for My Dakota Address (Lake County) was located in the court house in the heart of Madison. If you need somewhere nearby to stay in your RV, I’ve heard good things about Lake Herman State Park.
If you’re going with Alternative Resources, the closest State Park to Sioux Falls is where I stayed, Big Sioux Recreation Area, which I wrote about here. I don’t see a sate park close to America’s Mailbox, but Custer and the Black Hills aren’t too far away.
What you need for a driver’s license:
For the driver’s license, you do need to make an appearance somewhere in SD. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be the county where your mailing address is. Check places ahead of time because many DMV offices in SD are only open certain days of the week, the one in Madison for instance was only open on Tuesdays, not good for my case since I arrived on a Wednesday – hence why I stayed in the Sioux Falls area since their DMV is open 6 days a week. Here’s what you need to bring with you:
- It’ll cost $28 for a new or renewal (it needs to be renewed every 5 years) Class 1 (non-commercial) driver’s license.
- One of the following to prove identity, date of birth, and lawful status:
- Certified U.S. birth certificate issued by State or County (hospital birth certificates are not acceptable)
- Valid unexpired U.S. Passport
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
- Valid unexpired permanent resident card
- Valid unexpired employment authorization document
- Foreign passport with valid unexpired U.S. Visa with I-94
- If your name is different than the name on your identity document, you will need to bring additional proof of your legal name. Acceptable documents for proof of a legal name change are a certified marriage certificate (issued by a state vital records agency), a certified adoption document, or a certified court order authorizing a name change (such as a divorce decree).
- One of the following to prove Social Security number:
- Social Security card
- W-2 Form
- SSA 1099 Form
- Non-SSA 1099 Form
- Pay stub (must include name and social security number)
- Normally you’d also have to bring two documents to prove your residential address, but being full-timers we don’t have those. Instead we need to fill out the Residency Affidavit form (both check boxes need to be marked “Yes”) along with one piece of mail received at your SD mail forwarding address, plus:
- One document that shows a recent temporary address within South Dakota for at least one night. Being RVers for us this’ll be a campground or RV park receipt, again it can be anywhere in the state not necessarily the county where your mailing address is or where you’re getting the license from.
Note: You’ll also take a simple eye exam at the DMV, where you’ll read some letters off to the examiner. No other driving test or vehicle inspection is required in South Dakota.
And there you have it! You are now a South Dakota resident, congratulations. I hope this made the process a little less intimidating for those of you who are thinking of joining the ranks of full-timing South Dakota-ians….Dakota-ites…., bah, whatever.
Now, a bit about my personal experience with registering Cas in South Dakota and the 3% excise tax, as promised in Part 1. (Note, South Dakota’s excise tax is now 4% which I’ve mentioned above and in part 1 , but it was 3% when I first wrote this article and as this is a telling of my personal experience back in 2012.)
South Carolina is unique in that it doesn’t charge any sales tax at all on trailers, instead it charges a property tax which is based on the listed value of the trailer ($1,100 for my 1999 Casita) instead of the actual purchase price ($8,995, a big difference). South Dakota’s sales tax is 3% based on the purchase price, so I had to cough up a good deal of money. I had researched all of this ahead of time though and knew to expect it. This was why all the registration fees for me ended up being so high. At least I won’t have to keep paying them year after year like I did the property tax in South Carolina.
They were also going to charge me a late fee for not paying the required sales tax within 30 days of purchasing it too (I bought Cas in March, and it was now September) which would have cost me an extra $100, not fun. I was prepared for this as well though and explained how the rule in South Carolina was different and had brought my property tax sales receipt from South Carolina to prove that I had paid their version of the tax a mere four days after buying it, well within the limit. I didn’t have to pay the excise tax on the truck at all since I had already paid at least 3% for that in South Carolina.
This brought my total for driver’s license, vehicle registration, plates, and all related taxes to $382. Without the 3% excise tax on the Casita, it would have been $112.15.
As before, if you spot any broken links or errors please let me know and I’ll fix them.
Can you believe it’s that time already? I renewed my SD driver’s license in Rapid City today, and like the first DMV visit four years ago (your SD license expires on your birth date, not on the day it was issued so it ended up being less than five years in my case) it was a quick and painless process. To renew your driver’s license as a full-time nomad you need:
- Your current driver’s license
- To fill out an application (found at the DMV) where you’ll provide, name, address, Social security number, date of birth, etc.
- A filled out Residency Affidavit with both boxes checked “Yes”
- One receipt showing you’ve spent at least one night in South Dakota within the past year (hotel, campground, etc.)
- One document proving your mail forwarding address in South Dakota, dated within the past year.
- $28 license fee
- You’ll also have to pass an eye exam on site.
EVERY OTHER RENEWAL you have the option to renew your driver’s license online instead of in person (which I could have done this time), but you still need proof that you’ve spent one night in South Dakota within the past year, so you’ll want to plan ahead of time. Also if you go this route, you’ll need to pay to get an eye exam somewhere and send in the findings to the DMV.
Aaand license plate renewal time! This year my truck cost $78.40 to renew and the trailer was $60.80 (including Lake County’s wheel tax and applicable fees). I find the easiest way to renew your license plates as a full-timer is online, the website is https://apps.sd.gov/. Sign up for an account using info from your SD driver’s license and the site will list your registered vehicles and walk you through the renewal process.
* * *
Interstellar Orchard turned 1 yesterday! One year ago yesterday was the last day of a one week vacation from the dreaded Job. I’d taken the vacation just to get the blog ready; finishing up the initial posts, getting pictures cropped, and figuring out fonts and layouts. The first six posts went live around 8:30 pm, shortly before I needed to be in bed to go back to work the next day. I was super nervous, what kind of response would I get, would anyone care at all?
As of 3:07 am today there are 93 posts, 56,520 total page views, and 1,143 comments. I call that a successful first year. Thank you all so very much for being a part of this amazing community, it wouldn’t have been possible without you.
* * *
Thank you for doing your usual Amazon.com shopping using my affiliate link.
Other Articles You Might Enjoy
On the morning of the 28th I’m on the road by noon, having said goodbye to the good folks of Little House Customs. The next few days are driving days with no stops other than overnights. I’m on a mission and nothing will derail me: ringing in 2014 on the shores of the Atlantic with…Read More
The bathroom is scrubbed, the blinds wiped down (they were filthy!), the grass cut, and I’ve gotten ant control that seems to do a much better job of controlling ants. I also made a serious attempt at trying my fancy Reese hitch out, but failed a bit on that (note to self: put stabilizer jacks…Read More
How to choose a mail forwarding service, and what you need to become a resident of South Dakota. This has been long overdue, I briefly mentioned in my write up about Big Sioux that it cost me a total of $382 to register my vehicles (this was back in 2012) but never explained why, and…Read More