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How To Become A Notary Public In South Dakota

If you are interested in becoming a Notary Public in South Dakota, this practical guide will answer many common questions. Learn about notarial duties, and find out how you can become a commissioned Notary. Once you are ready to begin the process of becoming a South Dakota notary or renewing your South Dakota commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

Requirements to be a Notary in South Dakota
South Dakota Notary Process
What Can I Do With My South Dakota Commission?
General Notary Public Information

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Requirements to be a Notary in South Dakota 

Who can become a Notary?

A Notary Public applicant in South Dakota must meet the following requirements:

  1. Must be a permanent resident of South Dakota or of a county bordering South Dakota who works or has a place of business within the state.
  2. Must not have been convicted of a felony.

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South Dakota Notary Process

What is the process to become a Notary Public?
  1. Make sure you meet all of your state’s qualifications:
    • Must be a permanent resident of South Dakota or of a county bordering South Dakota who works or has a place of business within the state.
    • Must not have been convicted of a felony.
  2. Purchase a Notary seal and affix an imprint of the seal in the appropriate box on your application form.
  3. Obtain a $5,000 surety bond
  4. Complete your application form. Submit your application and $30 commission fee to:
    • Secretary of State
      500 East Capitol Ave
      Pierre, SD 57501
  5. Purchase your journal (record is required for marriages, optional for other notarial acts)
  6. Purchase errors and omissions insurance (optional, but strongly recommended)
  7. Begin performing notarizations for the public
  8. If you determine you need additional training, seek out continuing education or consult Notary experts for guidance

What is the process to renew my Notary Public commission?

The process for renewing as a South Dakota Notary is the same as applying for a new commission (see above).

How long does a South Dakota Notary commission last?

The term of a South Dakota Notary commission is six years.

How much does it cost?

There is a $30 fee to apply for a Notary Public commission. Additional costs for bonds, Notary tools and education courses vary depending on vendors. There are county fees for filing your bond, signature and commission.

Supply package prices vary among vendors. New Notaries may need more “how-to” assistance than experienced Notaries. Books, training and live expert assistance are often must-haves for most new Notaries.

Some vendors may package items with additional fees — processing fees for example. Training can be included in package prices for new Notaries, although the quality of education can vary. Some providers offer their own Notary courses while others do not have the on-staff expertise to develop and support educational content. Several vendors offer Notaries live question and answer support, and others are not able to offer such assistance.

What kind of training will I need?

A training course is not required to apply for a South Dakota Notary commission.

Do I need to take an exam?

No, an exam is not required.

What kind of equipment will I need?

South Dakota Notaries must choose one of three types of seal — a rubber stamp ink seal, an embosser or a self-inking “perma-stamp” seal — for all notarial acts for paper documents.

The Secretary of State also strongly recommends that Notaries maintain a record of all notarial acts in a journal.

Supplies are sold by most vendors in packages, which can sometimes provide savings. However, not all vendor packages are created equal — they can vary greatly in terms of quality and content. If you are a new Notary or renewing your commission, the types and quantity of notarizations can require different tools of the trade. For example, if you are a mobile or retail Notary, an ID checking guide is recommended because you are constantly dealing with different people, as opposed to someone who notarizes in the same setting for the same group of people day after day.

When purchasing a journal, there are a few important features to which you must pay close attention. A journal with numbered pages and tamper-proof sewn construction allows Notaries to identify missing pages in their journals, which becomes extremely helpful if you’re ever named in a lawsuit. Simple notebooks or glue-bound journals are not acceptable in South Dakota.

When shopping for seal stamps, quality and durability can vary greatly among vendors. Stamps should not bleed during or after use, as this can cause county officials to reject documents due to smudging.

What is a surety bond and do I need one?

South Dakota Notaries must purchase a $5,000 surety bond to protect signers against financial damages resulting from the Notary’s negligence or misconduct. A surety bond is a financial guarantee that the Notary will fulfill his or her obligations to notarize in compliance with state laws. This Notary bond specifically protects the public, not the Notary. Any damages paid from the bond go to cover any signer’s losses and must be paid back to the surety company by you.

Notaries can insure themselves against possible legal costs or damages by purchasing a separate, optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy. Though not required by law, an E&O policy covers a Notary’s legal fees and damages up to the amount of the policy.

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What Can I Do With My South Dakota Commission?

Where will I be able to notarize?

A South Dakota Notary can perform notarial acts anywhere within the state’s borders.

Who can I notarize for?

Any member of the public, as long as the request meets all statutory requirements for notarization.

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General Notary Public Information

What is a Notary Public?

A South Dakota Notary is appointed by the Secretary of State to be an impartial witness to the signing of important documents. South Dakota Notaries are authorized to administer several official acts, including oaths, affirmations and acknowledgments.

Why become a Notary?

Notaries perform an important role in preventing fraud and ensuring the integrity of transactions by verifying the identity of document signers. It’s common for employees of many businesses that deal with signed document transactions on a regular basis — such as financial institutions, law firms or corporations — to become Notaries. Some entrepreneurs become commissioned Notaries as a part-time or full-time business for themselves, traveling to a signer’s home or place of business to notarize documents for a fee.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The South Dakota Department of the Secretary of State, Notary Administrator, located in Pierre.

May I become an South Dakota Notary if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to become a South Dakota Notary Public. You must, however, meet all other application requirements.

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