How to Become a Notary in South Dakota? (handbook| surety bond| income)

How to Become a Notary Signing Agent in South Dakota

(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our company, JCHQ Publishing will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

To become a notary in South Dakota, you must:

  1. Meet the eligibility requirement;
  2. Obtain a notary seal;
  3. Get a $5,000 surety bond;
  4. Submit an application to the Secretary of State;
    • Take an Oath of Office;
    • Pay the $30 fee;
  5. Review the notary commission certificate;
  6. Maintain a business journal;
  7. Study the South Dakota notary laws;
  8. Keep up with notarial best practice

Although you could work on different types of documents (i.e., POA, marriage certificate, living will), the loan signing business in the real estate market seems to be a lucrative niche.

So what does a loan signing agent do? When people are getting a mortgage to purchase a house, or they need to refinance their property, there will be loan documents involved. Your role as a notary loan signing agent is to walk through the set of loan documents with the borrower and witness them in signing the paperwork. 

You would also need to verify the identity of the signers, place the notary stamp on the signed documents, then send them back to the signing services company or closing attorney. 

But keep in mind that you should NOT be providing legal advice, and you cannot explain the terms of the loan documents to the borrower.  

In this guide, you’ll find out the steps to become a notary in South Dakota, income updates, and FAQ about this profession. 

But before we start, I want to give a brief disclaimer. This post is not intended as legal advice or state/federal notary public training. It is for general information only. Please check with your state to be sure that loan signing agents are utilized in the closing process. Always follow your state’s notary laws and best practices.

Would you like to learn how to make $75 to $200 per signing appointment? Check out this loan signing training program from Mark Wills. (**) He is one of the highest producing notary loan signing agents in the country.

A Table Summary to Become a Notary in South Dakota

AgeNotary CourseExamSurety BondTerm of OfficeApplication Fee
N/ANoNo$5,0006 years$30

8 Steps to Become a Notary in South Dakota

8 Steps to Become a Notary in South Dakota

Step 1: Meet the eligibility requirement

  • Be a resident of South Dakota OR resides in a county bordering South Dakota and have a place of work or business within the state
  • Have not convicted a felony

Step 2: Obtain a notary seal

South Dakota Notary Seal

Notaries are required to use an official stamp in South Dakota. It is a helpful business tool that ensures you won’t leave out any required details. It indicates the signing agent as an impartial witness.

It can be either a rubber or embossing stamp and you may purchase the notary stamp from office supplies store.

Its design must comply with the regulatory rules. For example, it must contains the following:

  • Your name exactly as it appears on the application
  • The words “Notary Public” and “South Dakota.” If you are using a rubber stamp, the word “seal” also needs to be included.
  • Don’t include the commission expiry date within the seal’s border

The stamp’s image must be sharp and legible printed so that it can be reproduced under photographic methods.

To prevent fraudulent acts, it is important to keep it in a safe and secure place.

Step 3: Get a $5,000 surety bond

South Dakota notary surety bond

The South Dakota Secretary of State requires you to purchase a $5000 surety bond with a 6 years term. You may get it from a licensed surety such as a notary bonding company, an insurance company, or a notary organization. You could search for them online.

Keep in mind that the surety bond is to protect those for whom the notary public performs a notarization, but not you as a notary public. If you need coverage for your practice, you should consider getting an Error & Omission insurance (E&O).

I just checked with a surety bond issuer. Below is their premium structure.

$5,000 bond with $5,000 E&O coverage$50
$5,000 bond with $10,000 E&O coverage$60
$5,000 bond with $15,000 E&O coverage$100
$5,000 bond with $20,000 E&O coverage$130

Source: (Sept 29, 2020)

If you do not want to pay the premium, the Secretary of State also allows you to get a $5,000 personal surety. A personal surety is a person that would be liable for your $5,000 if you perform unlawful notary acts. It can be a friend, relative, spouse, or coworker. But it must be an individual and cannot be an organization or company.

However, I do not like mixing business with personal matters. I would rather pay the premium than getting family or friends involved. Besides, even if the personal surety later on regrets putting their name on the bond, there is no way to remove it.

Anyway, that is just my personal preference. You should choose the way that suits you the most.

Step 4: Submit the application to the South Dakota Secretary of State

South Dakota notary public application

The South Dakota Secretary of State is responsible for appointing and commissioning notaries. You must submit the Notary Public Application to their Office.

Most of the application questions are pretty strict forward—for example, your name, business address, background info. It’s better to check that the name on the application will be the same as when you are notarizing documents.

There is a $30 filing fee. You may make a check payable to Secretary of State.

Other things you should keep in mind when filling out the notary application

Besides the things mentioned above, if you are obtaining a surety bond (not personal surety), you must also provide details of the it, such as the bond number and name of the surety company. A signature from an authorized person from the surety company is required.

Don’t forget to imprint your seal on the application. It should be done on the box in the top-left corner of page one.

Once everything is in good order, you may submit all the required documents to: Secretary of State, 500 East Capitol Ave, Pierre, SD 57501

Step 5: Review the notary commission

Reviewing the South Dakota Notary Commission Certificate

Typically speaking, their processing time is 10-19 business days after they receive the application.

Once it is approved, you will receive the notary public commission certificate. You should review and make sure all the details on the certificate are correct. (e.g., your name, county of residence, term of commission).

If not, you need to notify the Office asap.

Step 6: Maintain a notary journal

South Dakota notary business journal

Although notaries in South Dakota are not required to keep a business journal, maintaining a good record of your notary acts is an essential part of good business practice. It could serve as proof that you have taken reasonable steps to identify the signer of a document.

If your journal is maintained in a physical format, you should have one bounded with numbered pages. You may find it at stationery, office supply stores, or through notary associations.

In the notary journal, you may consider recording the following items in each entry:

  • What is the the date of the notarial act performed?
  • What is the notarial act?
  • The identifying information of the signer
  • Other details which you believe would be useful when referring to this notarization

Step 7: Study the South Dakota notary laws

Study the South Dakota notary laws

The financial well-being of many people depends on the accuracy and completeness of your notary work. You must equip yourself with the necessary notary knowledge.

You should read the South Dakota Notary Public Handbook

South Dakota Notary Public Handbook

Source: This is a screenshot of the South Dakota Secretary of State

This handbook is prepared by the South Dakota Secretary of State. It is a 28-pages comprehensive guide that covers the following topics:

  • Notary Tips
  • Components Required for Complete Notarization
  • Eight Concepts to Remember
  • Record Keeping
  • Definitions
  • Illustration of an Acknowledgement
  • Illustration of an Affidavit
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Selected South Dakota Codified Law Sections
  • Remote Notary Law (2019 HB 1272)

The content is written in an easy-to-understand manner. I also refer to this guide from time to time as I’m writing this post.

You can find comprehensive details on the South Dakota Codified Laws

South Dakota Codified Laws Chapter 18 Notaries Public

When you read Chapter 18, Notaries Public, it pretty much covers mostly everything you need to know about being a notary. Below are some of the topics that you can find:

  • Appointment by secretary of state–Term of office–Application procedure–Authority.
  • Definitions.
  • Oath and bond of notary.
  • Seal, oath, and bond filed with secretary of state.
  • Requirements of seal–Commission expiration date required below seal.
  • Issuance of commission–Posting–Records maintained by secretary of state.
  • Notarial acts of interested person or agent valid if not principal party to instrument.
  • Fee chargeable by notary.
  • Faith and credit to notarial acts.
  • Affixing official signature without appearance by parties as misdemeanor.
  • Notarial act permitted when person appears by means of communication technology–Requirements.
  • Acting after expiration of term or disqualification as misdemeanor.
  • Performing notarial act without commission as misdemeanor.
  • Party to transaction as notary public prohibited.
  • Removal of notary from office for violation.
  • Notice to notary of revocation of commission.

The South Dakota Statutes indeed is a good reference if you want to know more in-depth about each notary topic.

However, its wording is more technical and formal. So I would go through the handbook first, then read the South Dakota Codified Laws only further clarification is needed.

Anyway, I’ll leave the links of these study resources in the reference section.

Step 8: Keep up with notarial best practice

Continuing education is critical to being a notary signing agent. Rules and regulations would change over time. Also, there will be new technology to advance your business practice. A good way is to take high-quality courses from a trusted provider.

Learn to earn as a Loan Signing Agent

Without sufficient income, you are just doing it as a hobby and not a real business. The first step you should take is to learn how to build a “PROFITABLE” notarial practice.

But this could take years of trial and error in coming up with a feasible strategy. Rather than reinventing the wheel, a MUCH better way is to learn from someone who has done it before successfully.

Mark Wills is a top-notch coach for notary signing agents. He developed the Loan Signing System (LSS) training program, where many of his students have achieved massive success. Some can earn great money as a side-gig, where some are earning over six-figures every year.

You may click here to check out his training program. (**)

Advance your credential by becoming an NNA Certified Notary Signing Agent

The National Notary Association (NNA) is one of the largest associations and most recognizable for notaries. They provide regular updates, training and networking events to the members.

Getting the NNA Certified status can show to title and escrow companies that you are maintaining a high standard as a signing agent. Thus, strengthen their trust and confidence in your signing services.

What is a Certified Notary Signing Agent?- An Exclusive Interview with Melina Fuenmayor

Here is a review I wrote about the NNA Certified Notary Signing Agent Program.

In there, you can find an exclusive interview I had with Melina Fuenmayor. She will share with you her thoughts in obtaining the certified credential. 

Does South Dakota allow electronic notarization?

I like states that have the option for notaries to work digitally. Doing so could bring you great convenience to streamline your notary practice.

Electronic Notarization, also known as “e-notarization” is where the signings and document transmission can be done electronically. But you’ll still need to meet the signer in-person to verify their identity.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing this post, electronic notarization is not allowed in South Dakota. 

Does South Dakota allow remote online notarization (RON)?

Does South Dakota allow remote online notarization (RON)?

Remote online notarization (RON) gives you the convenience not to be physically present with the signer. Instead, you would verify their the signer’s identity through video and audio conference.

At the time I’m writing the post, there are emergency rules imposed which allows remote notarization in South Dakota.

However, this could be a temporary measure. Whether they would revert to in-person notarization afterward is unknown yet. Therefore, you should check with the Office of the Secretary of State.

How to become a mobile notary in South Dakota?

How to become a mobile notary in South Dakota?

Some signers cannot travel to your office in signing the documents, and they do not have the technology to perform the remote notarization. In such a situation, there would be a demand for a mobile notary. In short, a mobile notary is merely a notary that travels around in meeting signers. 

To become a mobile notary in South Dakota, you must:

  • Register with the South Dakota Secretary of State as a notary. This is basically the same notary commission certificate, as discussed earlier. You don’t need to get a new one. 
  • Have ease of transportation. It is better to have your own car so that you could conveniently drive between appointments. 
  • Setup essential equipment: A mobile printer and an approved electronic notarization platform allow you to work on the documents whenever and wherever. You may check out our resource page for amazingly helpful tools that could streamline your business. 

How much can you make as a notary signing agent in South Dakota?

How much can you make as a notary signing agent in South Dakota?

The average Notary Signing Agent salary in South Dakota is $32,272. It typically falls between the range $31,527 and $41,050. (+)

As mentioned earlier, you could work on different documents, but the loan signing in the real estate market could be a lucrative niche.

Can you make over $10,000/month as a notary loan signing agent? Be sure to check out our notary earning guide. You’ll find a case study where a loan signing agent has built her business to such a successful figure.

(+) Source: – Aug 27, 2020

Is there demand for notary loan signing agent in South Dakota?

As long as people are obtaining mortgages or refinancing their homes, there would be a demand for notary loan signing agents.

All originated mortgages in South Dakota


Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (Sept 29, 2020)

Since not all active notaries can perform remote online notarization, whenever possible, you should consider incorporating RON in your practice to maintain a competitive edge.

If you want to succeed in the loan signing industry, you must check out this loan system training program. If you review the testimonials of his students, you’ll be amazed at how the notary career changes their life after they learned from Mark Wills. (**)

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

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

It would cost approximately $115 to become a notary in South Dakota.

Here’s a breakdown of the costs to start a notary signing business

Notary application fee$30
Surety bond with $5,000 E&O$50
Notary stamp$20
Journal $15

There could be other expenses involved, travel expenses, car maintenance, auto insurance, remote notary technology, laptop and other business supplies.

Can a felon be a notary in South Dakota?

Can a felon be a notary in South Dakota?

The South Dakota Secretary of State needs to make sure that you are a person with credibility, truthfulness, and integrity to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.

According to the South Dakota Notary Public Handbook, the secretary of state may not appoint any person who has been convicted of a felony as a notary public.

How long does it take to become a notary in South Dakota?

It takes 10 to 19 business days to become a notary in South Dakota.

After you take an oath of office, get a surety bond, and a notary seal, you may submit an application to the Secretary of State along with the $30 filing fee.

Upon approval of your application, you will receive the notary commission certificate.

How to renew notary commission in South Dakota?

How to renew notary commission in South Dakota?

The notary commission is not renewed automatically in South Dakota. You need to apply for a new commission every four years.

The steps are the same as you were applying for the initial application. 

You may begin within 60 days prior to the expiration date. To avoid a business interruption, you should start the renewal process before the expiration of your current commission.

Can a notary refuse to notarize a document in South Dakota?

Can a notary refuse to notarize a document in South Dakota?

You may refuse to notarize a document in South Dakota if:

  • You cannot identify the signer
  • There is a conflict of interest
  • The individual’s signature is not knowingly and voluntarily made. 
  • It involves with an unlawful transaction

It is better to record in the journal with a detailed description why you refused to perform or complete a notarial act.

Furthermore, you must never refuse performing a notarial act based on the signer’s race, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, health or disability.

Can I notarize for a family member in South Dakota?

Can I notarize for a family member in South Dakota?

You must not notarize any documents where you have any financial or beneficial interest in the transaction. Therefore, notarizing a document for any family member could call into question, and such practice should be avoided.

I have more questions about being a notary public in South Dakota, where could I obtain more details?

You may contact the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office at 605-773-3537 or email

A real life story of a successful notary public and loan signing agent

Luisa Cook Notary Public and Loan Signing Agent

What’s a better way to learn about the business than learning from someone actually working in it! Here is an exclusive interview I conducted with Luisa Cook. She is a successful Certified Notary Public and Loan Signing Agent.

In there, she shared her journey and business strategy in running a notary and signing business. I’m sure this could help you to understand more about the notary career.

If you are reading up to this point, I bet you must be interested in the notary signing profession. But why reinvent the wheel when there is a proven system that works? Many students had great success following the Loan Signing System (LSS) from Mark Wills. You may click here to check it out yourself. (**)

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. Some of the posts on may contain views and opinions from the interviewees. They do not reflect our view or position.

(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our company, JCHQ Publishing will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.


  • First American Title- Your Guide to Real Estate Customs by State (source
  • South Dakota Secretary of State – Notary Public (source)
    • South Dakota Notary Public Handbook (source)
  • Codified Laws – Chapter 18-1 Notaries Public (source)
  • – Notary Signing Agent Salary in South Dakota (source)
  • – South Dakota Notary Bond (source)
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (source)

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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