$5,000 Notary Bond
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How much does a South Dakota notary bond cost?
South Dakota notary bonds are issued instantly with errors and omissions coverage for six-year terms, starting at just $50. Errors and omissions coverage ensures you are not held personally liable for mistakes made while notarizing documents. Visit our blog for more information on this essential coverage.
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Why do notaries need to be bonded in the state of South Dakota?
Notaries in South Dakota are required to submit $5,000 surety bonds to the South Dakota Secretary of State prior to performing notarial acts.
By posting a South Dakota notary bond, notaries pledge to adhere to all state laws and perform all notarial duties ethically and lawfully. The bond is in place as liability coverage in the event of civil or criminal proceedings as a result of incorrect, negligent, or fraudulent use of a South Dakota notarial commission. The bond protects the state and the general public from financial loss resulting from the principal’s actions, up to the full penal sum of the bond.
How to become a notary in South Dakota
1. Meet the eligibility requirements.
In order to be qualified to become a commissioned South Dakota public notary, it is required that candidates meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be a permanent South Dakota resident, as defined in South Dakota Codified Law §12-1-4, or a resident of a county that borders South Dakota whose place of work or business is in the state of South Dakota
- Have never been convicted of a felony
- Have never been disqualified of becoming a notary public per SDCL §18‐1
2. Obtain your notary seal and journal (journal optional).
A notary seal must be obtained for South Dakota notaries, while a journal is optional. The seal can be purchased at an office supply company, stationery store, or print shop. The two types of seals that are commonly available for purchase are the embossing seal or the rubber stamp; both are acceptable as a notary seal. However, it is required by the South Dakota Secretary of State that the seal must contain:
- The legal name you will be commissioned under and sign by
- A border surrounding the imprint
- The words "Notary Public" and "South Dakota"; if the seal is a rubber stamp, it must also include the word "seal”
- The seal should NOT include an expiration date inside the border; a notary must write, print, or use a different stamp with the words “My commission expires” and the date
**NOTE: An imprint of the applicant’s notary seal must be included on the application, oath, and bond from when submitted to the Office of the Secretary of State.
While not required for most notarizations, the South Dakota Secretary of State highly recommends that notaries keep a record of all notarial acts in a journal. A journal with numbered pages and tamper-proof sewn construction is recommended; simple spiral notebooks or glue-bound journals are not acceptable.
3. Acquire a $5,000 surety bond.
South Dakota notary statute requires new and renewing notaries public to submit a $5,000 surety bond. This is in the event of unethical conduct in relation to the notary license rules. In order to be approved by the attorney general, applicants need to submit a surety bond with their application for appointment or reappointment (SDCL §18-1-2). The surety bond can be issued by an insurance company or by an individual personal surety.
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3a. Get E&O insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
Notaries are able to protect themselves against legal costs or damages by buying a separate and optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy. Despite it not being required by South Dakota law, an E&O policy would take care of a notary's legal fees and damages up to the amount of the policy issued.
4. Complete the notary application.
When completing the State of South Dakota Notary Public Application, Oath & Bond, applicants must make sure each item below is checked before submission:
- Include an imprint of your seal in the box at the top left of the form. The seal imprint must be completely legible.
- Write the applicant’s name EXACTLY as it appears on purchased seal.
- Provide the address, city, state, zip code, and county of the notary applicant. To be approved, the address provided must be the applicant’s physical residence. A post office box or solely a mailing address is not accepted by the Secretary of State, but it may be included for mailing purposes.
- If the applicant resides in an out-of-state county bordering South Dakota, complete the Employer/Business Name and South Dakota Business Address portions of the application.
- Answer the question regarding past experience as a South Dakota notary; if the applicant has previously held a commission, note the expiration date from the Notary Public Commission certificate issued by the Office of the Secretary of State. Include any alternate name(s) the applicant was previously commissioned under.
- Provide the applicant’s date of birth and any past convictions.
- A notary public must witness the signature provided on the application.
5. Pay fees and submit the application.
When submitting your South Dakota notary application, a $30 filing fee must be enclosed. This payment can be in the form of a check made payable to the Secretary of State. Once complete, applicants may send the items to:
1Secretary of State 2500 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 204 3Pierre, SD 57501
Upon the submission of all documents, the South Dakota Secretary of State recommends allowing 10-19 days for the reviewing/processing of a notary public application. Once approved, the South Dakota Secretary of State will mail a Notary Public Commission Certificate. The certificate will state the notary’s official name and the start and expiration dates of the notary commission. The notary certificate counts as legal proof of a notary commission for South Dakota and is required by statute to be on display publicly for every notarization.
How to become a remote notary in South Dakota
Individuals who hold an active notary public commission in the state of South Dakota are permitted to conduct online remote notarization services. According to SD House Bill 1272, notaries may only perform notarial acts electronically under certain conditions.
First, the notary must be able to certify the individual’s identity beyond reasonable certainty. Therefore, notaries have to personally know the individual with whom they are dealing. Additionally, notaries must attach their signature to the tangible document, note the remote location and use of communications technology, and confirm the original form is the same document the individual signed.
Considerations for a South Dakota notary bond
South Dakota notary bonds expires after six years, beginning with the date issued by the surety. Notaries must renew their surety bond at the end of the bond’s term to remain in compliance with the laws of the state.