How to Become a Notary in South Dakota


To become a notary in South Dakota, you must:


  1. Meet the eligibility requirements listed in the next section.
  2. Purchase a notary seal.
  3. Complete a notary application.
  4. Make an imprint of your notary seal on the notary application. Note: If you have more than one notary seal, include the impressions on the notary application or on a separate sheet of paper.
  5. Obtain a $5,000 notary bond issued by an insurance company or an individual personal surety bond. Note: Applicants who would like to provide an individual surety bond must complete and have a Personal Surety Form notarized.
  6. Mail the completed notary application. Personal Surety Form (if applicable), and the $30 filing fee to the South Dakota Secretary of State.

Important: Do NOT notarize documents until you receive your notary commission certificate from the secretary of state. The notary commission certificate must be posted in a conspicuous place in your office for public inspection (SDCL 18-1-4).

Visit the South Dakota Secretary of State’s website for more information on how to become a notary in South Dakota.

Who can become a notary public in South Dakota?


To become a notary in South Dakota, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Be at least eighteen (18) years old.
  2. 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
  3. Never have been convicted of a felony.

This South Dakota notary guide will help you understand:


  1. Who can become a notary in South Dakota.
  2. How to become a notary in South Dakota.
  3. How to register to perform remote notarizations in South Dakota.
  4. The basic duties of a notary in South Dakota.

How do I renew my notary commission in South Dakota?


To renew your South Dakota notary commission, follow the same steps you took when you applied to become a notary the first time. A South Dakota notary can submit a renewal application no more than sixty days prior to their commission expiration date.

To apply for reappointment as a notary public, go to the South Dakota Secretary of State's website at https://sdsos.gov/general-services/notary-public/renewal.aspx.

Who appoints notaries in South Dakota?


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).

South Dakota Secretary of State
Division of General Services
Notary Commissions

500 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 204
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3537
Notary@state.sd.us

Can a non-resident of South Dakota apply for a commission as a notary public?


Yes. A non-resident applicant 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).

How long is a notary public's commission term in South Dakota?


The term of office of a South Dakota notary public is six years. A notary cannot notarize documents after their notary commission expires without first renewing their notary commission with the secretary of state.

Is notary training or an exam required to become a notary or to renew a notary commission in South Dakota?


No. An applicant seeking appointment or reappointment as a South Dakota notary public is not required to complete any notary training or pass a notary course or exam. The American Association of Notaries recommends that all South Dakota notary applicants complete a notary course so they can clearly understand their state’s notary laws and the duties and responsibilities of a notary.

How much does it cost to become a notary public in South Dakota?


The cost to become a notary in South Dakota includes:

  1. A notary seal. Click here to view our notary stamp prices.
  2. A $5,000 surety bond or individual personal surety.
  3. A fee to have your personal surety form notarized (if applicable).
  4. The $30 filing fee to process the application for appointment or reappointment.

Other expenses include the cost of purchasing:

  1. A notary journal to record all notarial acts performed (optional). Click here to view our notary journal prices.
  2. A notary errors and omissions insurance policy (optional). This insurance policy is designed to protect you if you are sued for unintentional mistakes or if a false claim is filed against you.

Do I need a notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy to become a notary in South Dakota?


A notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy is not required to become a South Dakota notary public or to renew your notary commission. However, the American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that every South Dakota notary obtain a notary E&O insurance policy. A notary E&O policy covers unintentional notarial mistakes and pays for legal fees and damages based on the coverage you select as a South Dakota notary public.

Do I need a notary bond to become a notary in South Dakota?


Yes. All South Dakota notary applicants are required to maintain a six-year, $5,000 notary bond. The bond protects the public from notary errors. If a member of the public files a claim against a notary’s bond, the bonding company is very likely to sue the notary to recoup the funds it paid on the notary’s behalf. A notary bond does not protect notaries from mistakes they make. This is why notary errors and omissions insurance (commonly known as “E&O” or “E&O insurance”) is vital.

For more information on notary bonds and personal surety bonds, visit the South Dakota Secretary of State’s website or view the instructions on the notary application.

Do I need to order a notary stamp in South Dakota?


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. The seal must be of a type approved by the South Dakota Secretary of State and shall contain at least the following elements:

  1. The notary public’s name
  2. The words “South Dakota”
  3. The words “Notary Public”
  4. The word “Seal” if the seal is a rubber stamp
  5. A border surrounding the imprint

Note:

  • The words “My Commission Expires” and/or the commission expiration date are NOT allowed to be placed inside the border of the notary seal, but they may be placed outside the notary seal border.
  • The South Dakota notary laws do not specify the dimensions of notary seals.

The American Association of Notaries offers quality notary stamps and seals at savings of up to 40% compared to the cost of the same products elsewhere. Click here to order your South Dakota notary stampnotary sealcomplete notary package, and other notary supplies.

What are the steps to replace a lost or stolen South Dakota notary seal?


If your notary seal is lost or stolen, report the loss or theft immediately to the Office of the Secretary of State so that a notation can be made on your record. There are a couple of options available to a notary whose seal has been lost or stolen:

  • You may continue to use your notary commission and have a new seal made. The seal can be identical to the original, be a different type, or be altered slightly. The new seal impression will have to be recorded with the Office of the Secretary of State before you can begin using it. To record your new seal, please complete a Notary Public Request to Change Record Form.
  • You may request that the South Dakota Secretary of State cancel your present notary commission and ask that a new commission with a different expiration date be issued. You will then have to follow the notary public application procedures.
  • You may also wish to change the name on your notary commission and seal. (Example: Elizabeth B. Jackson could be changed to Elizabeth Jackson or E.B. Jackson or Liz B. Jackson.) The new impression of your notary seal will have to correspond exactly to the way your name is signed and recorded with the Office of the Secretary of State. To record your updated name and new seal, please complete a Notary Public Request to Change Record Form.

As a notary, you may choose any combination of the above options to update your notary commission and ensure there is no fraudulent use of your seal and/or commission.

How much can a South Dakota notary public charge for performing notarial acts?


South Dakota notary fees are set by South Dakota Codified Law 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, a  notary public may not charge a fee for notarizing a request for an absentee ballot.

Is a notary journal required in South Dakota?


Notary journal requirements for traditional notarizations and remote notarizations in South Dakota – South Dakota notaries are not required to record their notarial acts in a notary journal. However, the South Dakota Secretary of State encourages notaries to record all their notarial acts in a journal. A notary public can maintain a journal in a tangible medium or electronic format.

A notary journal (also known as a record book, log book, or register) is your first line of defense in proving your innocence if a notarial act you performed is questioned or if you are requested to testify in a court of law about a notarial act you performed in the past. A properly recorded notarial act creates a paper trail that will help investigators locate and prosecute signers who have committed forgery or fraud. Properly recorded notarial acts provide evidence that you followed your state laws and notary’s best practices.

The American Association of Notaries offers notary journals in tangible and electronic formats.

Click here to purchase a tangible notary journal.

Click here to become a member and access our electronic notary journal.

What information must South Dakota notaries record in their notary journals?


For Traditional Notarizations and Remote Notarizations – If a notary public maintains a notary journal, the South Dakota Secretary of State recommends recording, at the minimum, the following information:

  1. The date and time of the notarization or acknowledgment.
  2. The kind of document being notarized or acknowledged.
  3. The name and address of any party whose signature is being notarized.
  4. The signature of the parties.

Optional Information for Journal Entries:

  1. A land description (if applicable).
  2. The kinds of identification presented.
  3. The number of pages on the document.

What steps should I take if my South Dakota notary journal is lost or stolen?


Since notary journals are optional, South Dakota notary laws do not address this question. If your notary journal was stolen, we recommend you contact the appropriate law enforcement agency.

How long should I retain my South Dakota notary journal?


South Dakota notary laws do not address this question, since notary journals are optional. We recommend you keep the notary journal indefinitely.

Where can I perform notarial acts in South Dakota?


South Dakota notaries are authorized to perform notarial acts while physically located anywhere within the geographic borders of the state of South Dakota.

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(2)]:

  • Taking an acknowledgment
  • Administering an oath or affirmation
  • Taking a verification on oath or affirmation
  • Witnessing or attesting a signature
  • Certifying or attesting a copy
  • Noting a protest of a negotiable instrument

What kind of notarizations are allowed in South Dakota?


South Dakota law allows the following two types of notarizations:

Traditional Notarizations  This type of notarization requires the signer and the notary to meet physically in the same room within face-to-face proximity of one another. Traditional notarization involves an individual signing a tangible document with an inked pen and a notary public signing and affixing an inked notary stamp impression to the tangible notarial certificate.

Remote Notarizations  The signer appears remotely before a notary via video communication technology. This type of notarization requires the signer and the notary to send the document to each other and for the notary public to use their physical stamp to notarize the document without the aid of an electronic seal or electronic signature.

What are the steps to register to perform remote notarizations in South Dakota?


If you are a current notary, there are no additional steps required to register to perform this type of notarization.

How do I update my address on my South Dakota notary commission?


South Dakota notaries are required to keep their notary information current with the Secretary of State’s Office. If a notary’s physical or mailing address changes, the notary must complete a Notary Public Request to Change Record form and mail it to the secretary of state.

How do I change my name on my notary commission in South Dakota?


If you change your name during the term of your notary public commission, you must:

  1. Stop performing notarial acts.
  2. Request a rider from your bonding company showing that your name has been updated/changed.
  3. Purchase a new notary seal with your new name.
  4. Complete a Notary Public Request to Change Record form.
  5. Mail the bond rider and the Notary Public Request to Change Record form to the secretary of state.

Once the Secretary of State’s Office updates your information, an amended notary commission certificate will be sent to you, and you may begin performing notarial acts with your new name and new notary seal.

Revised:


February 2024

Legal disclaimer: The information provided on this page is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. We do not claim to be attorneys and we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information provided. You should always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for any legal matters. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, losses, damages, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss, or consequential loss, out of or in connection with the use of the information contained on any of the American Association of Notaries website pages. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their state’s notary authorities or attorneys if they have legal questions. 

South Dakota notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, the American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company (established 1900). Kal Tabbara is a licensed insurance agent in South Dakota.