Setting Up South Dakota Residency for RVers (Pt. 2)

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.

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 1853. 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 1853 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 3% 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 Affadavit Claiming Lack of Resident 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 $20 for a new or renewal (it needs to be renewed every 5 years) driver’s license. For commercial vehicles, the license cost is $25, and Endorsement Tests are $10 each. Note: A commercial driver’s license requires an actual physical address on it, not a P.O. box. What the DMV will probably do is put your temporary SD address on it (the RV park, campground, or hotel you stayed in).  This might occasionally cause confusion when your mailing address and DL address aren’t the same, but I’ve hard form someone who’s gone through thisthat it still works alright.
  • One of the following to prove identity, date of birth, and lawful status:
  1. Certified U.S. birth certificate issued by State or County (hospital birth certificates are not acceptable)
  2. Valid unexpired U.S. Passport
  3. Certificate of Naturalization
  4. Certificate of Citizenship
  5. Valid unexpired permanent resident card
  6. Valid unexpired employment authorization document
  7. 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:
  1. Social Security card
  2. W-2 Form
  3. SSA 1099 Form
  4. Non-SSA 1099 Form
  5. 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 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.

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 Dakota.

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.

* * *

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.

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12 Responses to Setting Up South Dakota Residency for RVers (Pt. 2)

  1. Kristin November 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Yay!! Congrats on the first year anniversary! Your blog is a great find and it’s one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing all your experiences and information. :)

    • Becky November 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

      Thanks Kristin, and you’re welcome. :)

  2. Gary November 16, 2012 at 5:31 am #

    OHH Happy An-ni-ver-sary, Happy An-ni-ver-sary…..Happy An-ni-ver-sary….H-A-P-P-Y AAANNNIIIIVVVVERRRSSSSAAARRRYYY BECKY. And mmmaaaannnny mooooorrrre !!!!

    • Becky November 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

      Haha, thanks Gary. I think you had a little too much fun typing that out? Nah, no such thing as too much fun…

  3. Todd November 16, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    Congratulations–It took most of that year for me to find you but no worries, I’m hooked.

    • Becky November 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      As I said before, I’m glad to have you on board Todd!

      Well that’s one good thing about blogs, everything from the past year is still all here for the reading. The trick is usually finding the free time though, isn’t it. :P

  4. Randy November 16, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    I have been reading your blog since early Oct. because I also work at Amazon. It’s interesting to get another persons perspective of the work. I became a resident of South Dakota last Dec. I just want to mention that I use “Your Best Address” as my mail forwarding service. They are in Sioux Falls and I am pleased with their service.
    An interesting side note to the drivers license. If you have a CDL (commercial drivers license) they will not let you use your mail forwarding service as an address. CDL licenses need an actual physical address not a P.O. box. They used the address from “a recent temporary address within South Dakota for at least one night” on my license, so the address on my drivers license is a hotel in Sioux Falls, while my wife’s is our mailing address. It causes a little bit of confusion at times when I need to show a photo ID and the address on my license does not match my mailing address. Also, when we registered to vote, they would not mail the voter registration card to a P.O. box, so my voter registration card went to that hotel in Sioux Falls. Since we voted absentee, it wasn’t a problem.

    • Becky November 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

      Oooh, thanks Randy. I’ll add that into the post for other people with CDLs. This is why I always ask if anyone knows more, because invariably someone will have experience with a part of the process that I didn’t.

      I think I’ve heard of Your Best Address before, but I didn’t actually know anyone who used it to ask if it was any good so I didn’t include it in the post. Thanks again.

  5. Carolyn November 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Looking forward to following you in year 2!

    • Becky November 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

      Looking forward to sharing the adventure with you all. :)

  6. Marcia November 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Happy One Year Anniversary and many thanks for the (inter)stellar job you’ve done on explaining the SD mail, registration and residency process.

  7. Becky November 18, 2012 at 4:38 am #

    You’re welcome Marcia!

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