How to Become a South Dakota Notary
The South Dakota Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming a South Dakota notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own South Dakota notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The state of South Dakota appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in South Dakota is a straightforward process, and as long as you fit the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become a South Dakota notary. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
This guide will help you understand:
- Who can become a South Dakota notary
- The process to become a South Dakota notary
- Basic South Dakota notary duties
What are the qualifications to become a South Dakota notary?
To become a South Dakota notary public, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be a permanent resident of South Dakota as defined in SDCL §12-1-4 or a resident of a county bordering South Dakota who maintains a place of work or business in South Dakota; and
- Never have been convicted of a felony.
What is the process to become a South Dakota notary?
To become a South Dakota notary and receive a South Dakota notary commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
- Complete a notary application.
- Complete the oath portion of the notary application.
- Make an imprint of his or her notary seal on the application.
- Purchase a $5,000 notary bond issued by an insurance company OR provide an individual personal surety bond.
- Submit the completed notary application with the bond and the $30 filing fee to the Secretary of State’s address listed on the notary application.
To access the notary application, click here.
Important: The Notary Public Commission must be posted in a conspicuous place in the notary’s office for public inspection.
Can a non-resident become a notary in South Dakota?
Yes. A non-resident who resides in a county bordering South Dakota and maintains a place of work or business in South Dakota may apply for a South Dakota notary public commission (SDCL §18-1-1). Moreover, a non-resident must comply with the statutory eligibility requirements as a permanent resident of South Dakota.
How much does it cost to become a notary in South Dakota?
To become a notary public in South Dakota, a notary applicant’s expenses may include: (1) the $30 filing fee to process the application for appointment or reappointment; (2) the mandatory notary seal; (3) a notary journal if the notary wishes to record every notarial act performed; (4) a notary surety bond; and (5) an E&O insurance policy if a notary wishes to obtain one for his or her own personal legal and financial protection.
How do I renew my South Dakota notary commission?
A South Dakota notary can summit a renewal application no more than sixty days prior to his or her commission expiration date. If a notary public wishes to renew his or her notary public commission and desires to keep the same commission date and expiration date, he or she must complete and submit his or her notary public application, oath, and bond form to the Secretary of State with a $30 filing fee in advance of the commission’s expiration. If a notary public desires a different expiration date than his or her previous commission, the notary must indicate on the application what date he or she wishes to begin his or her next six-year term. The process to renew a notary public commission is the same as for an applicant’s initial appointment as a notary public. To access the notary application, click here.
Are there any exams or notary courses required to become a South Dakota notary public or to renew my South Dakota notary public commission?
No. South Dakota notary statute does not require a course of study or examination to qualify to become a notary public in South Dakota.
Can I perform electronic notarization in South Dakota?
The State of South Dakota has not enacted/adopted statutes, rules, standards, and/or procedures for electronic notarizations. However, the State of South Dakota has enacted the “Electronic Transactions” (Title 53, Chapter 12, Sections 53-12-1 through 53-12-50), including the provision on notarization and acknowledgment, which authorizes the electronic signatures used by notaries public. Section 53-12-24 states, “If a law requires a signature or record to be notarized, acknowledged, verified, or made under oath, the requirement is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform those acts, together with all other information required to be included by other applicable law, is attached to or logically associated with the signature or record.”
In addition, the State of South Dakota has enacted the “Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act” (Title 7, Chapter 9A, Section 7-9A-2). Section 7-9A-2 states, “A requirement that a document or a signature associated with a document be notarized, acknowledged, verified, witnessed, or made under oath is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform that act, and all other information required to be included, is attached to or logically associated with the document or signature. A physical or electronic image of a stamp, impression, or seal does not have to accompany an electronic signature.”
Moreover, the South Dakota Notary Public Handbook, courtesy of the Office of the Secretary of State, states, “In the 2019 South Dakota Legislative Session, HB 1272 providing for remote notarization was passed and signed by the Governor. South Dakota now allows remote notarization in specific circumstances outlined in SDCL 18-1-11.1. Electronic or online notarization continues to not be permitted under South Dakota law.” Therefore, South Dakota notaries are prohibited from performing electronic notarizations.
Can I perform remote (online) notarizations in South Dakota?
Effective July 1, 2019, the State of South Dakota enacted Section §18-1-11.1,which states, “A notarial officer in this state, while located in this state, may perform by means of communication technology a notarial act executed on a document by a person who appears before, but is not in the physical presence of the notarial officer if the notarial officer: (1) has person knowledge of the identity of a person through dealings sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that the person has the identity being claimed; (2) affixes the notarial officer’s signature to the original tangible document executed by the person; (3) indicates in the notarial certificate the remote location of the person executing the document; (4) indicates in the notarial certificate that the notarial act involved a statement made or a signature executed by a person not in the physical presence of the notarial officer, but appearing by means of communication technology; and (5) is able reasonably to confirm that the document before the notarial officer is the same document in which the person made the statement or on which the person executed a signature.
The State of South Dakota notary statute defines “communication technology” as “an electronic device or process that allows a notarial officer and a person not in the physical presence of the notarial officer to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound” (SDCL §18-1-1.1). The South Dakota Notary Public Handbook, courtesy of the Office of the Secretary of State, states, “In the 2019 South Dakota Legislative Session, HB 1272 providing for remote notarization was passed and signed by the Governor. South Dakota now allows remote notarization in specific circumstances outlined in SDCL §18-1-11.1. Electronic or online notarization continues to not be permitted under South Dakota law.” For further information regarding remote notarizations, please contact the Office of the Secretary of State.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in South Dakota?
The term of office of a South Dakota notary public is six years, commencing on the date the Secretary of State makes the appointment and issues the notary public commission (SDCL §18-1-1). A notary’s commission may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by revocation; (3) by death; (4) when anon-resident notary ceases to have a place of work or business in South Dakota; or (5) when the notary is convicted of a felony.
Is a South Dakota notary bond required to become a notary in South Dakota?
Yes. South Dakota notary statute requires new and renewing notaries public to submit a $5,000 surety bond, to be approved by the attorney general, with their applications of appointment and reappointment (SDCL §18-1-2). The surety bond can be EITHER issued by an insurance company OR posted by an individual personal surety. A personal surety can be a friend, relative, spouse, or co-worker who will sign on his or her own behalf and be liable for a notary’s $5,000 bond if the notary performs any unlawful acts with the notary’s commission. A personal surety cannot be a company, business, or organization.Both the notary applicant and the personal surety must sign the notary application form, with each of their signatures being separately notarized. A personal surety cannot have his or /her name removed for any reason.A notary public cannot be his or her own personal surety.
Do I need a South Dakota notary errors and omission insurance?
A notary errors and omissions insurance policy is optional. The American Association of Notaries highly recommends that South Dakota notaries public consider obtaining notary errors and omissions insurance for their personal protection against liability. Errors and omissions insurance is designed to protect notaries public from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial damages to a party affected by the notary’s notarial actions. An E&O policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage a South Dakota notary public selects.
Where can I perform notarial acts in South Dakota?
South Dakota notaries public have statewide jurisdiction, and they must perform notarial acts within the geographic borders of the State of South Dakota (SDCL §18-1-1).
Who appoints South Dakota notaries public?
The Secretary of State appoints South Dakota notaries public, issues notary public commissions, and maintains the records of notaries (SDCL §18-1-1 and §18-1-4). To contact the Office of the Secretary of State, use the following information:
South Dakota Secretary of State
Division of General Services
500 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 204
Pierre, SD 57501-5077
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in South Dakota?
Yes. South Dakota notary statute requires all South Dakota notaries public to use either a rubber stamp or an embossing seal to authenticate all official acts (SDCL §18-1-3.1).
Dimensions: The South Dakota notary statute does not provide the statutory dimensions regarding the layout for a notary’s official seal.
Required Elements: The seal must be of a type approved by the Secretary of State and shall contain at least the following elements:
- The notary public’s name;
- The words, South Dakota;
- The words, Notary Public; and
- A border surrounding the imprint.
Note: A seal may be a rubber stamp or a physical device capable of affixing to or embossing on a tangible document. A rubber stamp must contain the word “Seal.” The words “My Commission Expires” and the commission expiration date must be written, printed, or stamped on the document. A notary public may use a separate stamp imprint with the words “My Commission Expires” and the expiration date. If the words are printed on the form, the notary need not duplicate them. The commission expiration date cannot be part of the notary’s official seal imprint. The commission expiration date must include the month, day, and year.
A notary public must notify the Secretary of State immediately if his or her official seal is lost or stolen. There are two options available to a notary public whose official seal has been lost or stolen. A notary may: (1) have a new seal made under his or her current notary commission, which can be identical to the original or a different type; or (2) request that the Secretary of State cancel his or her present notary commission and ask that a new notary commission with a different expiration date be issued. Whatever option is chosen, a notary may also wish to change the name on his or her notary commission and official seal. The new official seal impression has to be recorded with the Office of the Secretary of State. The new impression of the notary’s official seal must correspond exactly to the way the name is signed and recorded with the Secretary of State
Is a notary journal required in South Dakota?
No. The South Dakota notary statute does not require South Dakota notaries to record the notarial acts they perform in a notary journal. While such a journal is not required by state law, the Office of the Secretary of State recommends that South Dakota notaries public maintain a notary journal of the notarial acts they perform for their own legal protection and to assist in recalling past notarial acts if needed or if they are legally challenged. The American Association of Notaries also recommends that South Dakota notaries maintain a permanent, paper-bound journal with numbered pages to create and preserve a chronological record of every notarial act as a protective measure against liability. For South Dakota notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call 800.721.2663.
How much can a South Dakota notary charge for performing notarial acts?
South Dakota notary fees are set by statute (SDCL §18-1-9). A South Dakota notary public may charge and receive a fee not to exceed ten dollars ($10) for each instrument notarized. However, no notary public may charge a fee for notarizing a request for an absentee ballot.
What notarial acts can a South Dakota notary public perform?
A South Dakota notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (SDCL §18-1-1.1):
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Take verifications on oath or affirmation
- Witness or attest signatures
- Certify or attest a copy
- Note protests of negotiable instruments
How do I update my address for my South Dakota notary commission?
Notaries must notify the Office of the Secretary of State in writing of a change in address. Since South Dakota notary law does not stipulate the time period for an address notification to the Secretary of State, notaries are encouraged to complete the Notary Change form at their earliest convenience. To access the Notary Change form, click here.
Do I have to change my name on my notary commission in South Dakota?
A notary public who changes his or her name during the term of a notary public commission has three options available:
- Continue to use the notary commission as it was issued. The notary public would continue to sign his or her name using the surname on the commission.
- Continue to use the notary commission as it was issued and add to the signature an appropriate notation such as “presently” or “now” and the new name.
- Change the name on the notary commission by completing and submitting the Notary Request to Change Record form to the Office of the Secretary of State with the imprint of the new seal without any additional filing fee.The Secretary of State will issue a Notary Public Name Change Certificate. To access the Notary Change form, click here.
Revised: August 2019
Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this page. Information on this page is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their states if they have legal questions about how to perform notarial acts.
Notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company, Universal Surety of America, or Surety Bonding Company of America, which are subsidiaries of CNA Surety.