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A How-to Guide to Get Residency in South Dakota for Full-Time Travelers

Table of Contents:


Steps to Getting Your Residency

Main Take-Aways

As many of you know, Matthew and I recently traveled to South Dakota as part of the process of gaining our state residency there. Yup. We are officially no longer residents of Washington state.

It was a really fun (and really long) road trip. The best part was that we were able to do it on a budget. We got to do a self-guided tour of the state capitol in Pierre, visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and stay in a cabin on the Missouri River. This little trip only grew the excitement we have for when we get to hit the road and travel full-time in our skoolie.

Even though we had to take five days away from working on our skoolie conversion, this was definitely a much needed trip that has set us up to be successful as full-time travelers.

If you read my post Best States for Residency/Domicile for Full Time Travelers, then you'll recall some of the benefits of having South Dakota be our domicile rather than just staying residents of Washington State. And you'll also know what that fancy word I just used is. With South Dakota residency comes significantly lower taxes and in some areas no taxes, cheaper car registration and more affordable car tabs, along with a great mail forwarding service. Make sure to check out this post to see why we decided South Dakota was the best option and get a Pros and Cons list for our other state options.

For many, this ideas of switching residency just to travel seems like a crazy idea and think that it must be a crazy long process.

The good news is that it isn't! The process is really easy and pays off. Literally.

If you remember from my previous blog post, I mentioned that there was one business that really helped to make this process happen. And I sort of left you on a cliff hanger. Sorry about that.

Well, now I think it's time to tell you about that business.


Ta-da! This is the company that I've talked up so much. When doing our own research trying to figure out where we should get our residency, South Dakota seemed to be on everyone's favorites list. After digging further into South Dakota residency and what all that would take, we came across DakotaPost.

DakotaPost is a mail forwarding service, but honestly they do more than that. They walk you through all the necessary steps to getting your address, setting up your mail forwarding, getting your driver's license, and registering your vehicles. If you'd like to check them out, go to

If we had to do this process ourselves, we probably would have taken twice as long simply because we didn't know which steps to take.

Speaking of taking steps, what are the steps you need to take?


Steps to Get Your Residency

1. Get a South Dakota Address

With DakotaPost, this is really easy. All we had to do was fill out a form, get it signed by a public notary, mail it to DakotaPost along with two forms of identification, and pay a small fee. Once they receive this form, they send you your new address and you're able to continue to the next steps.

2. Fill out a Change of Address Form for USPS

Here's where DakotaPost once again is very helpful. Once you get your new South Dakota address, you'll get an email that lets you know your next step is to fill out this form for USPS. They even give you a link to the form you need! No wandering around the USPS website trying to figure out what the heck you need to do and where to look.

3. Stay One Night in South Dakota

After you have your new South Dakota address, make a trip to South Dakota. It only takes one night! Compare that to the year it would take if you chose Texas. You will need to prove you stayed the night there, so make sure you stay somewhere you have to pay for and get a receipt! We stayed in a cabin at the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area right on the Missouri River near Pierre, South Dakota. It only cost us $55 for one night. Much cheaper than finding a hotel. We didn't get a printed receipt but we got an emailed receipt. So make sure if you go this rout, that you keep that email handy as your proof of stay.

4. Get a South Dakota Driver's License

While you're in South Dakota, head over to the Driver's Licensing office. You'll need to have your current driver's license, social security card, a birth certificate, and proof of your one night stay. After filling out the application, you'll take a short vision test like usual and get your temporary South Dakota driver's license. It cost us about $14 each to get the license. After getting your temporary license, you can expect your new license in the mail when it's all finished.

5. Register to Vote

This can be done after you fill out the USPS Change of Address Form. While on the website, there is a prompt asking if you would like to switch your voter information over to your new state of residency. If you missed that part, you can also do this while getting your driver's license. On the form you fill out for your driver's license application, you can also check a box to become a registered voter of South Dakota. Since Matthew was the one who filled out the Change of Address form, he was able to have his voter information updated but I was not. So while we were at the Driver's Licensing office, I made sure to check that box.

6. Register your Vehicles

To do this, you can set up an appointment with DakotaPost. They make it easy by doing everything over the phone and by mail. You won't have to travel anywhere to get this step done. Do make sure to have all your car info with you. Title, registration and whatnot.

See? In just six easy steps, you can become a resident of South Dakota and save tons of money while you travel!

After going through this process for ourselves and loving all that DakotaPost did for us, we decided we wanted to tell everyone about them and encourage you to take this step for yourself. So we reached out to DakotaPost, and worked out a way to get you a discount off your own mail forwarding subscription purchase. Be sure to use promo code "Project63" at checkout to get $10 off your purchase!

We do get a small commission each time one of our viewers purchases a subscription through DakotaPost and uses our promo code, so thank you for the support!


Main Take-Aways

1. South Dakota is, in my opinion, the best state to get your residency in. You will save a lot of time and money by going this rout. We certainly did. The process is way easier than we thought it would be, especially next to how other states do it.

2. The next most important thing for you to know is that there are a lot of resources out there for you that make this transfer of residency simpler. And on top of that list for me is DakotaPost.

They were a great resource for us, and we would recommend them to anyone else who is thinking about full-time traveling.

3. We wanted to save as much money as possible, so we planned this trip on a budget. This is why we drove instead of fly to South Dakota even though that makes the trip twice as long. By using the website, we were able to find free campsites all along the way. The free campground we found our first night in Montana was well maintained, had outhouses, bear boxes, and even a camp host. We were very pleasantly surprised with how nice the campsite was and that it was free! We will be continuing to use this resource while we travel in our skoolie.

I'd love to share all the websites and apps we use to plan our camp stays either for free or really cheap, but that's for another day.

Additionally, we brought food, a cooler, our backpacking dishes, and a propane stove so we could make our own meals and avoid eating out so much. This was not only a money saver, but a lot of fun since we got to pull over in a lot of cool places to prepare our meals.

Matthew from Project63 cooking brats on a propane stove we took car camping with us for dinner next to the car by a river and forest on a road trip to south dakota to get residency so we can save money
Matthew preparing Blue Max brats for dinner with a great view!

Another plus to this, is that you won't find yourself on one of those long empty stretches of highway in the middle of nowhere without somewhere to get a decent meal.

4. You're going to need to stay a night in South Dakota for the process of getting your residency, so you should make the most of it. Chances are, you're not going to be headed back through the capitol of South Dakota again.

Another way that we saved money was by staying our "one official night" in South Dakota in a cabin at the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area near Pierre. This cabin only cost us $55 for one night. This was cheaper than any hotel we could find and much more fun.

Tip: These cabins don't come with any bedding, so make sure you have bedding or sleeping bags with you. Since we were car camping on the way to and from South Dakota, we thankfully already had this with us. If you choose to stay at a KOA, you won't have to worry about bringing your own bedding, but you should expect to pay higher prices for your stay.

I hope this post gave you some good information and you now feel ready to start the process of becoming a South Dakota resident yourself!

Good luck and happy saving!

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Meet the Author


Hey! I'm Kaitlynn, a lover of the outdoors and all things travel. I quit my job to travel full-time with my husband, Matthew, in our skoolie. 

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Matt & Kate

Project 63 

Bringing you travel information and inspiration as we travel to all 63 National Parks.

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