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In this comprehensive guide on how to become a notary in South Dakota, we lay out the roadmap to achieving this goal. With easy-to-follow, actionable steps, we’ll help you navigate this intriguing process, turning the complex into simple.
Whether you’re looking to serve your community or generate additional income, this article will offer everything you need to know to get started.
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Become a Notary in South Dakota
In order to become a notary in South Dakota, you will need to complete a few simple steps.
Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirements
Before getting started, there are a couple of South Dakota notary requirements you need to meet:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Permanently reside in South Dakota or a county bordering it and work within the state
- Have no felony conviction
Note: Applications from users with felony convictions will be automatically denied.
Step 2: Purchase Your Notary Seal
After you ensure that you satisfy the basic requirements of being a South Dakota notary public, you’ll need to purchase a notary seal that meets the following specifications:
- A rubber/embossing stamp with your name included as you will sign it when notarizing (i.e., how it will appear on your commission)
- Shaped as a circle, square, or rectangle
- Must include the terms “Notary Public” and “South Dakota” (as well as the word “Seal” if it’s a rubber stamp)
- Must include an expiration date outside the border of the seal
Note: You will need to obtain your notary seal before commencing your application as you will need it to make a legible imprint on the document.
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Step 3: Complete the Notary Application
Once you’ve obtained your notary seal, you can get started on completing your Notary Application.
Below, we’ve outlined the steps to guide you through the process of completing your application:
- Fill out your name on the application exactly as it is written on your seal
- Make sure your residence address is your physical address
- Clearly stamp your seal in the box (if you have two, you can include the second one on a separate sheet)
- Answer all the questions (leaving any blank or answering them incorrectly could cause your application to be automatically rejected)
- Complete the Employer/Business Name and South Dakota Business Address sections if you live in an out-of-state county that borders South Dakota
Note: Your South Dakota business address must be within the state.
Step 4: Complete the Oath Portion of the Application
Your oath of office is a promise made to abide by South Dakota’s laws and faithfully perform your duties as a notary.
In South Dakota, you’ll complete your oath of office as part of your online application. There are several steps you’ll need to take in order to do so properly:
- First, enter the county where the oath is signed
- Then enter your name exactly as you wrote it in previous sections (i.e., how it appears on your seal)
- Finally, date and sign the oath with your name written the same way
Step 5: Complete the Bond Information
All applications must be accompanied by a $5,000 Notary Public Bond in order to cover any negligent acts performed during your commission.
A notary bond can be one of the following:
- Surety bond — A six-year surety bond valued at $5,000. You can obtain one by contacting a local insurance company
- Personal surety — A friend, family member, or spouse who signs to assume liability for your $5,000 bond if you commit negligent acts during your commission
Step 6: Submit Your Completed Application
Once you have completed all of the above steps, you’re ready to submit your application.
Enclose a $30 filing fee with the application and submit it to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s address, which has been included below:
South Dakota Secretary of State
500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
You should shortly be issued a Notary Commission Certificate by the Secretary of State. Only after this will you be able to officially notarize documents in South Dakota.
Note: For any questions you may have regarding the application process, you can contact the SOS’ office by calling them at (605) 773-3537 or by emailing them at email@example.com.
Step 7: Protect Yourself With Errors and Omissions Insurance
While not required by law, it’s a good idea to consider protecting yourself with Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance.
This type of insurance provides coverage for any potential mistakes or omissions that you might make while performing notarial acts.
It’s an extra layer of protection that can give you peace of mind while operating for a relatively low opportunity cost.
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Step 8: Purchase a Course (Optional)
Even though this last step is not a legal requirement, you should note that South Dakota notary applicants often choose to invest in a notary course. This is because it can offer several benefits, such as:
- Understanding the law: Notary laws can be complex and vary from state to state. A course can help ensure that South Dakota notaries fully understand relevant laws and how to apply them correctly
- Professional development: A course can enhance professional skills, making a notary more effective and competent in their role
- Reducing liability: By better understanding the rules and best practices, notaries can reduce the risk of making errors that could result in legal action
- Increased confidence: A notary course can boost a notary’s confidence by giving them a solid foundation of knowledge and expertise to draw from
- Staying updated: Laws and procedures change over time. A course can help notaries stay current with any changes in notary regulations and practices
So, while it’s not mandatory in South Dakota, many aspiring notaries find value in such courses. It’s a personal decision based on individual comfort and professional goals.
Recommended: For all of your notary training course needs, we recommend having a look at notary.net’s all-inclusive South Dakota Notary Course ($49.95).
How to Become a Notary in South Dakota FAQ
What is the hardest state to become a notary?
The difficulty of becoming a notary can vary significantly from state to state. This is largely due to the different eligibility requirements, education prerequisites, exams, and application processes. California is often cited as one of the most challenging states to become a notary. Its strict requirements include a state-proctored exam, mandatory education, background check, and a higher level of responsibility under the law.
What do you need on a notary stamp in South Dakota?
The stamp for South Dakota must include the notary public’s name exactly as it appears on their commission, and the words “Notary Public,” and “South Dakota.” Additionally, the stamp should also contain the notary’s commission expiration date and a serrated or milled-edge border around the stamp.
How do I become a notary in South Dakota?
Assuming you meet the eligibility requirements, you’ll need to fill out an application, pay a $30 application fee, and purchase a $5,000 surety bond. To read about this process in more depth, see our article on How to Become a Notary in South Dakota.
How long does a notary commission last in South Dakota?
In South Dakota, a notary commission lasts for six years. After this period, you can renew your commission by repeating the application process — which includes getting a new surety bond, filling out the renewal application, and paying the renewal fee.
Do I need to sit an exam to be a notary in South Dakota?
South Dakota does not require aspiring notaries to sit an exam to become a notary. However, they must be at least 18 years old, a resident of the state, and able to demonstrate familiarity with notary laws and principles, often through a course or self-study. To find out more about the process of becoming a notary, see our article on How to Become a Notary.
For all related articles, have a look at our How to Become a Notary page.