South Dakota Domicile, How Easy Is It To Get It Set Up

We signed up with escapees to get started with our nomad life, and everything has gone pretty well. They have guides set up, for all the different states that allow you to claim domicile while you are living on the road, that guide you through all the steps you need to take to get everything done.

The hardest part was getting from New Jersey to the west side of South Dakota and back in the amount of time we had available. Were there other hiccups along the way? Sure there were, but as far as the process to register, it was pretty painless.

rv hangers

Drivers License

One thing to keep in mind is that the South Dakota Drivers Licensing office (step one) is closed on Mondays. Yeah… Who knew. We left Thursday night to make it to Rapid City for Sunday night, so that we could hit the ground running first thing Monday morning.

Ok, change of plans, Monday is now monument touring day. We went back home (to the RV) and made some breakfast, bundled up nice and warm because its 20 degrees out this morning, (We nailed it on the plan of never being cold again…) and headed towards Mount Rushmore.

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Mount Rushmore visit while setting up South Dakota Domicile
We basically had the place to ourselves for a few minutes while we were here.

When we were done at Rushmore we headed over to Crazy Horse. And if these two stops are on your list of things to do when setting up your South Dakota domicile, I would recommend shooting for doing them on a Friday. Friday after 4pm you can take a ride up to the top of Crazy Horse and be face to face with him, during the week that’s not an option as it is an active work site.

Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse has been in progress for 80 years and is still an active work site.

When we were done checking out the museum and shops at Crazy Horse, we decided to take a ride over to Custer State Park which is right up the road, because as you know, Loretta has an infatuation with Buffalo and a large herd calls Custer home during the winter.

Custer State Park, South Dakota
(Loretta says “If I’m standing by the fence and they come to me, I didn’t break the rules.”)

Drive the wildlife loop if you decide to make this stop, and at some point you WILL come across this massive herd of fluffy cows. Just remember, NO PETTING THEM!

When we were done with our sight seeing day, we retired to the RV, made some dinner and decided to try again Tuesday morning. The license office opens at 7:00 am so we planned on being there when they opened.

Drivers License, Round Two

All told from parking the truck, to both walking out with our South Dakota drivers licenses, we were there for Maybe 40 minutes. Make sure you have the documents listed in the Domicile Guide, and you will be in and out.

One thing to keep in mind, that isn’t spelled out in the guide, is that your Name needs to be on the receipt for your stay in South Dakota. If there’s two of you, both names need to be on it. That was the only thing that held us up a little, BUT, unlike New Jersey, the people here were very friendly and helpful with helping us figure out how to get past this sticking point since only My Name was on the receipt.

Vehicle Registration

Next stop is over to the Tax Office to register the vehicles. We planned on being here for hours, just because we knew there would be T’s to cross and I’s to dot in triplicate since there are loans on 2 of the Truck and RV. Our sons car we own outright, and that process was only about 10 minutes.

The Truck and RV did take a little bit longer, and required a little more paperwork to be filled out, which we kind of expected anyway. We ended up working with a woman named Erica and we honestly can’t say enough about her and how friendly and helpful she was throughout the entire process.

She guided us through the paperwork we needed on top of what we had brought with us. She gave us her email address so we could send her a document that we didn’t have with us. She put together a file with our paperwork, with a note on what we still needed, and what we were waiting on from the finance companies to keep on her desk.

Erica has been a fantastic breath of fresh air from a government office. We just got an email yesterday, a week after we left South Dakota that the title for our truck had finally come in from the finance company, so they could process the registration, and send us our plates after we paid for the transaction over the phone.

South Dakota Domicile IS That Easy

If you follow the guide the process at the tax office does go fairly smoothly, and the staff there is quite helpful. When we arrived there were maybe 10 people in line and it moved pretty quickly. I would say we were in and out in about an hour and a half.

Speaking to local woman in line, today was her 3rd day trying to get in to the office. She said the last 2 times she pulled into the parking lot, saw the line to get to the counter, and pulled back out. It does sound like we got lucky with the day we came in, and that this variable will be the luck of the draw in the process.

On the plus side, once you get the majority of your paperwork done, South Dakota does let you finish the process via email and make payment over the phone, which makes the entire thing a lot less of a headache.

If you happen to be headed east on the way home, or west on the way out, I would definitely recommend the Iowa 80 truck stop for a good leg stretcher stop. It’s the worlds largest truck stop, and if there is anything you needed for the trip that you forgot, they have it there.

Worlds Largest Truck Stop
You name it, They got it.

All told the entire trip was 8 days. We left on a Thursday night, and got back mid day the following Friday. The drive was the toughest part as we spent more time on the road during the day than we normally like to just to stay inside the time constraints we had from our personal life. And on the plus side, I didn’t have to fight a bear like I did in Yellowstone.

Now we have our South Dakota drivers licenses, our vehicle registrations are in process, and our plates are being mailed to us as soon as they come in. One step closer…

The only thing left to do now is hit the open road.

Planning a trip to the Dakotas? Check out our list of Must Have Road Trip Apps.

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