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South Dakota Residency For Full Time RVers

I can’t believe that we’ve been living in our RV for over 5 years now and we are finally establishing residency in South Dakota. As full-time RVers, it is very easy to establish residency in South Dakota, and in this blog, I’m going to take you through every step of the process for establishing your South Dakota residency. 

Benefits of South Dakota Residency for Full-Time RVers

How To Establish Residency as Full Time RVers
When you live life on the road, you have the ability to be a resident of whatever state you’d like and South Dakota is the best of them!

Being a South Dakota resident has many great benefits. For starters, there is no income tax in South Dakota.

Full Timer RVers, South Dakota Residency
Are you a full-time RVer? Here’s why you should get your residency set up in South Dakota!

In addition, the fees to license and register your vehicle are low and there are NO vehicle inspections required. Since I drive a very old Ford truck, I loved this about South Dakota seeing as before, when it was registered in California, I had to do a smog check every other year.

Lastly, as a South Dakota resident, our auto & RV insurance went down in price significantly as shown below.

Do South Dakota Residency Rules Only Apply to Full-Time RVers?

5 Year Nomad Family Anniversary
Digital nomads and full-time travel families can also reap amazing benefits from establishing their residency in South Dakota

Full-time RVers aren’t the only nomads who look to establish residency in South Dakota. This is also good for traveling medical professionals, digital nomads, or retirees without a consistent physical address.

Benefits of Paying For a Virtual Mailbox

If you live an independent lifestyle, you probably need to occasionally receive mail. Having a virtual mailbox service manage your mail saves you time and money.

I’m going to break down exactly why we went with for our virtual mail service and the exact steps you need to take to set up your South Dakota residency as a full-time RVer or nomad.

How to Set up South Dakota Residency as a Full Timer RVer or Digital Nomad

Step 1: Secure a South Dakota Address

There are a few different ways to do this. I have a few friends who went through America’s Mailbox but ran into issues along the way so I steered away from that service.

Another friend I know set up a P.O. Box at UPS in Rapid City and while she’s been happy with it, it can get expensive having your mail forwarded to wherever you are.

I wanted something efficient, cost-effective, and more personal.

That’s when I discovered To be frank, they first discovered me. Lynne, the manager of South Dakota Residency Center (, had sent me a message on IG letting me know they were a new business.

Since it just so happened that I was looking into establishing residency, I gave her a call, and honestly, that’s what made my choice so easy. She was wonderful to work with and the prices were comparable to or less than going with other mail services. 

In the end, I believe customer service is what sets great companies apart and so I wanted to work with a company that cared about people.

How does the Virtual Mailbox Work?

When a new piece of mail arrives, the outside of the envelope or package is scanned and you receive an email notifying you that you have a new piece of mail.

When you join, you will also download the Anytime Mailbox app to your phone so that you can look at your scanned mail on the app and choose whether to open and scan it, forward it to another address, recycle it, or shred it.

While this can be all done automatically through the app, I like that I can call Lynne and ask her personally about my mail and that she knows who I am. 

In a world of automation and technology, sometimes it’s nice to be able to pick up the phone and talk to a human if you have a question

Their service starts at only $10 per month! Once you join and complete the paperwork, you will get a receipt as a form of proof that you have a South Dakota address, which you will need when you go to DMV.

Click here to get started with

Step 2: Mail Something to Yourself

Setting Up South Dakota Residence
You’ll need mail addressed to you (with all names of those registering) to bring to the DMV

When you go to the DMV, you will need to show a piece of mail with your name on it.

IMPORTANT: If there are other people in your family applying for residency, they too will need to show a piece of mail with their name on it so make sure everyone’s name is on the piece of mail you send.

Step 3: Make Your Appointment with DMV

Hopefully, by the time you read this, things are calming down but when we were starting the process of establishing residency in South Dakota, the DMV had just reopened from the COVID shut so it took a while to get an appointment. I thought I could just walk in but they wouldn’t take walk-ins and the scheduling window was booked one month out. 

If you have an idea when you will be in South Dakota, you should schedule your appointment now. Click here to schedule your appointment.

Note that you can take care of establishing South Dakota residency at any Driver’s Exam station, but don’t worry, you won’t need to take any form of a test if you have a current license in another state.

IMPORTANT: You need an appointment for every person applying for residency. I made the mistake of only making an appointment for myself thinking they’d take care of my whole family and was only able to get my driver’s license processed. We had to wait for another spot a month later to do everyone else’s. 

What about residency for kids?

You don’t need to set up residency for younger kids. I did this for my two kids who are adults and also my 16 year old so that she could easily get her permit and driver’s license when she’s ready. I didn’t need to do anything for the youngest two kids who are 9 and 11.

We took care of everything in the Spearfish DMV. If you follow the steps on this blog AND set up your appointment, it is VERY, VERY EASY at the Spearfish DMV and you’ll be in and out very quickly!

Step 4: Spend The Night at a South Dakota Campground/Hotel

Spearfish KOA Campground, Black Hills, South Dakota
Campsite area at Spearfish KOA

This part sounds easy but there’s a catch that I learned the hard way.

One of the requirements by the DMV is that you show that you stayed the night in a campground, hotel, or Airbnb in South Dakota. It only needs to be one night but you have to have a receipt printed out that shows your name AND the name of every single person who is trying to establish residency AND it needs to have your new South Dakota address when you check in so it’s on the receipt.

Make sure this campground or hotel receipt has your new South Dakota address on it too.

By staying at the Spearfish KOA, they do this regularly and will make sure that you have the receipts you need for everyone who needs it.

The Spearfish KOA is also only a 5-minute drive from the Spearfish DMV making it easy and convenient for RVers to get their residency requirements set up. Click here to see why we love the Spearfish KOA.

Step 5: Paperwork Required by DMV for South Dakota Residency

Here’s a list of what you need to take with you to the South Dakota DMV.

  1. Receipt Proving Mail Service Agreement, which will provide for you when you set up your virtual mailbox.
  2. Passport or Birth Certificate (no photocopies).
  3. Previous state’s driver’s license, which you will be surrendering.
  4. Piece of mail with your name on it. Remember, if you have a spouse or kids establishing residency, they too need mail with their name on it. 
  5. You also need that receipt of staying one night at a campground, or hotel in South Dakota with your + anyone else applying for residency’s name on it.
  6. Proof of Social Security number- this can be your SSA card, SSA 1099, a W-2, or paystub with your social security number on it.
  7. Also, if you’ve changed your name you will need to bring proof of it with marriage, divorce, or adoption certificate.
  8. Notarized Residency Affidavit, which you will fill out at the DMV

Summary of Full-Time RVers & Nomads Getting South Dakota Residency

Becoming a South Dakota Resident, Full Time RV Living
Stoked about our new driver’s licenses and more importantly, stoked to be residents of South Dakota

In summary, this is what you need to do to establish a South Dakota Residency if you are a full-time RVer or nomad:

  • Sign up with a virtual mailbox provider such as Once all the paperwork is complete, they will email you a receipt which you will need to take with you (printed out) to DMV.
  • Mail yourself a letter to your new address with everyone’s name on it.
  • Set up a DMV appointment for each person getting residency.
  • Stay one night in a South Dakota campground or hotel. Click here to reserve the Spearfish KOA
  • Get a receipt from the campground or hotel with each person’s name on it who will be applying for residency. 
  • Go to DMV with your mail service agreement, campground receipt, piece of mail with your name on it, current driver’s license, proof of social security number, and birth certificate or passport. 
  • Receive new driver’s licenses and become official new residents of South Dakota!

How to Get New South Dakota License Plates

Full Time RV family, Residency South Dakota
Official new license plates after our trip to Deadwood

Now it’s time to register your vehicles. Getting new South Dakota license plates was super easy! You can do this at any South Dakota County Treasurer’s Office.

We headed to the town of Deadwood. Deadwood is a cute town that you will probably want to set aside at least half a day to explore. Click here for a list of our favorite things to do in Deadwood (coming soon). 

To register your vehicles, you’ll go to any South Dakota County Treasurer’s Office with your new driver’s license and title for vehicles you own.

We own all our vehicles outright and so, all we did was walk in (there was no line) and give them our new South Dakota driver’s licenses and our California pink slips and in less than a half-hour, we walked out with new South Dakota plates.

I hope this comprehensive guide answered all your questions about establishing SD residency as an RVer, full-time traveler, or digital nomad.

If you have any questions left unanswered, let us know in the comments below and check out the resources below for all the amazing things you should do on your trip to South Dakota.

Travel in South Dakota:

Don’t forget to PIN THIS!


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Tuesday 5th of March 2024

This is a great resource!

What about car insurance? Who did you go with and do they ask.. "Where is your car "garaged?" We live in an RV resort that doesn't allow for a residence. So, we're currently without a residence. We're a mess.. I have a WA driver's license. My hubby has a ID driver's license. I have a CA car registration/plate. My hubby has a OR license plate/registration. We need to consolidate which will simply and hopefully reduce our fees as well.

Robyn Robledo

Sunday 17th of March 2024

We use Nationwide.

Richard Tapert

Wednesday 27th of December 2023

I would like to recieve my mail at my daughter's house in California. Will the mail service automatically send it there if I ask?

Robyn Robledo

Thursday 28th of December 2023

Yes, they can automatically forward all your mail


Thursday 19th of October 2023

So what happens if you are called for Jury Duty? Do you tell them I'm in Wisconsin right now on an extended trip, and do they then re schedule your appearance?


Thursday 21st of December 2023

We just had the same issue recently. You have to submit/mail a letter with proof that it would provide financial hardship for you/your family or proof that you live somewhere else. Call the number on your jury duty notice to find out where to send it. From there, the judge gets to deem if you're excused or not.


Friday 13th of October 2023

What about vehicle insurance. Insurance companies want a physical address with description


Thursday 21st of December 2023

I'm not sure, we have our vehicle insurance in south dakota with that address and it hasn't been an issue. We use Nationwide Mutual Insurance.

Marie D

Sunday 17th of September 2023

Can you register your vehicle and get SD plates without your vehicle being physically present in SD? I will likely fly out to establish new domicile in December or January, to escape state income tax while I finish selling my house, but I don't want to have to drive in winter.


Sunday 17th of September 2023

Yes you can. In fact, I just bought a new car and a trailer and was able to mail in all the paperwork. You will need to send in a copy of your drivers license, have a bill of sale, and fill out a form.

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