SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota residency laws allow a person to spend one night in the state to qualify for residency.
“Stay one night at a South Dakota address,” is one of three steps to obtaining South Dakota residency, according to the South Dakota Residency Center website.
There are a few caveats. The person cannot have a residence in another state and the individual is described as a traveler in the state’s residency affidavit.
In order to qualify as a resident of South Dakota, you need a mailing address and a driver’s license.
Businesses like the South Dakota Residency Center in Spearfish, Americas Mailbox in Box Elder and Dakota Post in Sioux Falls are able to help with establishing residency in South Dakota.
Would-be residents can get that address through at least three businesses that offer the service. Once the potential resident gets an address, they can obtain a driver’s license.
The residency affidavit must be signed by a notary or South Dakota driver’s license examiner. It is used to obtain a driver’s license or state identification. The affidavit ask questions such as “Is South Dakota the state you intend to return to after being absent?”
Hint: Numerous blogs, videos and social media platforms on obtaining South Dakota as your domicile or becoming a South Dakota resident suggest saying “yes” to the question.
Once driver’s license is approved, they need to return to South Dakota for only one day in five years so they are able to renew their driver’s license.
South Dakota’s law appeals to full-time travelers such as those who live in a recreational vehicle.
Trade magazines and other source estimate there are about 1 million people in the U.S. who live full-time in a recreational vehicle. The data is from about 2018 and 2019. A University of Michigan study from about 2005 estimated there were about 500,000 full-time RVers.
South Dakota is so appealing to those who live full-time in a recreational vehicle that multiple traveler blogs, websites and social media pages promote the option. Former residents of New Jersey, California, Illinois, for example, have all posted on various social media sites and websites, about becoming South Dakota residents.
One site, called escapees.com provides details for full-time travelers on how to establish South Dakota residency.
So do the websites of three businesses which offer the mailing address service. Americas Mailbox in Box Elder, South Dakota Residency Center in Spearfish and Dakota Post in Sioux Falls are two address companies.
Nellie Taylor of Americas Mailbox said it has 15,500 members.
Members include full-time RVer’s military members, snowbirds and traveling nurses, Taylor said.
Americas Mailbox and Dakota Post tout using the mail forwarding/address service as way to establish South Dakota residency, the businesses also say the forwarding service is a benefit to those who may be working in another state, for example.
Both business websites lists partners and information as a way to help individuals use their services and potentially establish and maintain a South Dakota domicile or address.
Campgrounds and/or motels are some of the partners of mail forwarding services. At least one of the businesses has its own campground.
Individuals need a place to stay while they apply for a South Dakota residence or when they return to renew their driver’s license.
Dakota Post lists the Tower Campground on 12th Street in Sioux Falls as one of its partners, for example.
- Other partners of the three companies include insurance businesses:
- The Americas Mailbox members list 514 Americas Way, Box Elder, S.D. 57719 as their address.
- The Dakota Post address is 3916 N Potsdam Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104-7048.
What are the benefits of benefits of being a South Dakota resident when the resident doesn’t physically live here?
Here’s what the mail forwarding businesses and social media supporters say: Tax savings.
Residents who spend only one day every five years here don’t pay any state income taxes, their Social Security and retirement pensions are not taxed and there are no gift or inheritance taxes.
Vehicle registration fees, vehicle taxes and vehicle insurance fees are among the lowest in the nation. South Dakota does not require annual vehicle inspections.
What else do one-day state residents get to do? Vote.
There are 9,289 registered voters with the Americas Way address, said Lori Severson, the election supervisor for Pennington County.
The county created a voting precinct called AW for those voters, Severson said.
A total of 5,856 votes were cast in the AW precinct in the Nov. 3rd, 2020, general election, Severson said. The majority voted by mail (5,817), she said. Thirty-nine registered voters voted in person.
Minnehaha County sent out 2,226 absentee ballots for the November 2020 election to registered voters with the 3916 N. Potsdam Ave. address, county auditor Ben Kyte said.
One-day state residents can cast votes in elections for city council or school board.
The 2019 estimated population of Box Elder was 10,119, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The 5,856 votes cast by one-day residents is more than half the 2019 estimated population of Box Elder.
While lower vehicle registration fees are one benefit cited by advocates for establishing South Dakota residency, individuals don’t need to be a state resident to register their vehicles in the state.
The South Dakota Department of Revenue website says: “You should know that your state may prohibit registering your vehicle in another state. You will need your original out of state titles, a copy of your state driver license, social security number, and a Motor Vehicle and Boat Title & Registration Application. Take this paperwork to your local county treasurer’s office to complete registration process. They will be able to tell you the appropriate fees pertaining to that county.”