So now that you have decided you want residency in South Dakota, how do you proceed? What will you need? Where do you even start? Well, let us first start out by saying that the process is one of the easiest in the country and very straight forward. So, let us take a moment and go over the steps and what to expect.
Step 1: Obtain a South Dakota Driver's License
The first step to obtain a driver’s license in South Dakota you must first have and maintain a physical address year-round. This is one of the reasons why online digital mail services will not work for residency. Once you have your physical address, you can start planning your trip to get your license.
Step 2: Stay 1 Night in a Hotel
Step two will be to come to South Dakota and stay 1 night at a hotel, campground, or RV park. On the receipt from your stay make sure it lists the address of where you stayed, your name and your new South Dakota address. This receipt will be valid for 1 year.
Step 3: Visit the Department of Public Safety
Step three will be to make an appointment with the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (www.dps.sd.gov ). You will bring the address verification that we provide you, your overnight stay receipt, and the required identification. You can find the required identification at https://dps.sd.gov/driver-licensing/required-documents. At this time, you will fill out the residency affidavit, where you are claiming South Dakota as your state. South Dakota is a Gold Star state, so your license or identification card will have the Gold Star in the corner. Please know that the Gold Star does NOT work for passage into Canada and Mexico.
If you hold a CDL we recommend calling the Department of Public Safety directly at 605-773-6883. There are different requirements depending on the endorsements you hold.
Renewing your driver’s license will follow a similar process. Once every 5 years, you will be required to come back to South Dakota and spend a night. We can provide you with an updated address verification form to go along with your new 1-night stay receipt. Again, the 1-night stay receipt is good for 12 months. So, if you renew in the winter, you can use a receipt from the previous summer.
When you get your driver’s license you will also register to vote. To vote in primaries in South Dakota, you will need to belong to the specific party of primary election you wish to vote in. When it comes time to vote, if you are not in the state, you can request an absentee ballot. You do need to request one for every election cycle. You can have the ballot mailed to your South Dakota address or directly to where you are.
So, the process is simple. Three easy steps and you are a South Dakota resident. And maintaining residency is just as easy. So again, we ask, ‘Why Not South Dakota?’