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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm currently still a "resident" of Illinois, living in Mexico permanently. I'd like to reduce my costs and hassles with Illinois taxes and car registration.

I'd appreciate any input about experiences with South Dakota mail services used as a residency, and experience with South dakota car registration. It's my understanding at this point that there is no S.Dak. income tax, and no vehicle safety inspections, emissions inspections, or insurance proof requirements to get license plates there.

Thanks for any help or advice you can offer. :)
 

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SD Registration

I need to look into that, also. I believe a lot of folks are doing that. In fact, in an issue last year or year before, of The ****** Gazette, a newspaper in English for those in Baja Calif. South, there was a story of a fellow in Cabo San Lucas who now provides that service (registering your car for you in SD). You don't need residency there, either.
Guess we can either Goole it or request a copy of the DMV Book from SD?

sailorsloopy
 

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Caution: Please do not contact South Dakota DMV online or otherwise. Only the Treasurer's Office, Clay County, SD, will provide this service and you'll have to contact them directly, by phone. They'll give you instructions for your vehicle. You must have a US address and Social Security number, as well as a MasterCard.
 

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Caution: Please do not contact South Dakota DMV online or otherwise. Only the Treasurer's Office, Clay County, SD, will provide this service and you'll have to contact them directly, by phone. They'll give you instructions for your vehicle. You must have a US address and Social Security number, as well as a MasterCard.
Must be a sweet income source for them!
 

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Must be a sweet income source for them!
Corruption is corruption whether in corrupt Clay County, SD USA or corrupt Tapachula, Chiapas Mexico. Maybe those South Dakota plates would be a good way to transport illegal drugs to the states. Until responsible citizens stand up to these abuses of civility, they must accept abuses committed against them personally.

Hypocrites.
 

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Let's not jump on the corruption bandwagon yet. I don't think that this constitutes a legal SD residency but rather allows you to register a car there with another address that you must establish. This is a real service to people that no longer have a US residence but can't import car into Mexico. It's the legal residence that carries tax implication.
Does anyone know if possible to use a Texas mail drop address with SD registration.
 

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Conklinwh: You can use a Texas mail drop address, but you also have to provide a physical address in the US. If, for some reason, you do not have a physical address in the US that you can use, Clay County requires a notarized statement explaining why. This is, I believe, a fairly new development. A couple of weeks ago a friend sent off her paperwork and just received a letter asking for the notarized statement about having no physical address in the US.
 

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If have to have a physical address in the US which then establishes a tax base, then I'm not quite sure of the value other than not requiring inspections.
 

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Point not addressed from base note is insurance. My understanding is that US plated cars require US insurance before a Mexican policy can be issued. Other option I guess is no insurance at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I checked with my Mexico insurance, and they said if I was living in Mexico, they would waive the requirements for US insurance. Also, they only require it for damage to your car and theft. If you want only liability, they don't require US coverage. You might want to check with your company to see what their requirements are.
 

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I checked with my Mexico insurance, and they said if I was living in Mexico, they would waive the requirements for US insurance. Also, they only require it for damage to your car and theft. If you want only liability, they don't require US coverage. You might want to check with your company to see what their requirements are.
That would be good, I've only asked for matching coverage so that probably why wanted proof of US insurance. With newer car, not sure I'd pass on damage or theft. Also, I've actually used "roadside" support and they have driven the 45min from Queretaro to fix.
 

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The only reason one might need to acquire those South Dakota plates is if one plans to drive back to the United States periodically and is worried about being hassled in the states by bumpkin state troopers out on the open road. One´s expired U.S. plates from any state are OK to drive anywhere in Mexico as long as one´s residency visa is valid and current. It´s just when one drives back to the United States that one might have trouble with the law. We drove vehicles down here for years with expired California plates with never any problem from traffic enforcement since that is not an illegal act here. Of course, when we had U.S. plates we were periodically hit up for mordida. If one is coming here to seriously live here, get rid of that U.S. car by selling it at the border and buy a Mexican plated vehicle. Since we started driving solely Mexican plated vehicles some five years ago, we have never been hassled for mordida even once by the traffic cops anywhere in the country despite extensive travel by car and many trips through notorious Mexico City. These crooks love those foreign plated vehicles.

There was a time a few years ago when you could register your car in Texas currently without transferring title as I did back in 2004. I just used my Texas motel address. They didn´t care. I don´t know if that is still possible but if so it is cheap and easy in Laredo so that may be an alternative to having to humiliate yourself with South Dakota plates announcing "Great Places Great Faces".

Note that the Texas registration alternative is not an illegal scam being pulled off by one rural county clerk as in South Dakota problably unbeknownst to officials in Pierre or at least ignored by them. In Texas, the key is you do not transfer title, you simply register your car there with your temporary address. There is a difference.
 

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The only reason one might need to acquire those South Dakota plates is if one plans to drive back to the United States periodically and is worried about being hassled in the states by bumpkin state troopers out on the open road. One´s expired U.S. plates from any state are OK to drive anywhere in Mexico as long as one´s residency visa is valid and current. It´s just when one drives back to the United States that one might have trouble with the law. We drove vehicles down here for years with expired California plates with never any problem from traffic enforcement since that is not an illegal act here. Of course, when we had U.S. plates we were periodically hit up for mordida. If one is coming here to seriously live here, get rid of that U.S. car by selling it at the border and buy a Mexican plated vehicle. Since we started driving solely Mexican plated vehicles some five years ago, we have never been hassled for mordida even once by the traffic cops anywhere in the country despite extensive travel by car and many trips through notorious Mexico City. These crooks love those foreign plated vehicles.

There was a time a few years ago when you could register your car in Texas currently without transferring title as I did back in 2004. I just used my Texas motel address. They didn´t care. I don´t know if that is still possible but if so it is cheap and easy in Laredo so that may be an alternative to having to humiliate yourself with South Dakota plates announcing "Great Places Great Faces".

Note that the Texas registration alternative is not an illegal scam being pulled off by one rural county clerk as in South Dakota problably unbeknownst to officials in Pierre or at least ignored by them. In Texas, the key is you do not transfer title, you simply register your car there with your temporary address. There is a difference.
In Texas you need an inspection (and in some places that includes an emission test), proof of residency and proof of insurance in order to either title or register a vehicle. You would receive two stickers one showing that the title is registered and the other showing that the vehicle has passed the inspection.

Your attitude surprises me, it's not OK for a county to have some lax rules but it's OK for us to take advantage of lax rules in Texas. What's wrong for one should also be wrong for the other.
 

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In Texas you need an inspection (and in some places that includes an emission test), proof of residency and proof of insurance in order to either title or register a vehicle. You would receive two stickers one showing that the title is registered and the other showing that the vehicle has passed the inspection.

Your attitude surprises me, it's not OK for a county to have some lax rules but it's OK for us to take advantage of lax rules in Texas. What's wrong for one should also be wrong for the other.
Well, pappabee, you are correct. It seems to me perfectly logical as a native of Alabama with its 67 counties, that each county in that state should feel absolutely free to encode its own rules to decide who is qualified to receive title and registration for a vehicle sanctioned by the laws of the state of Alabama as a whole. Even decree locally that title and registration are an entitlement of people who have never even set foot in that state nor ever would based upon the suppositions of some two bit county clerk whose values are based upon the repetitive acquisition of long green for the county coffers.

Let´s give some thought as to what county rule managing statewide enforcement of lawful entitlements with correlative responsibilities within the law would bring us. How about this. Administration of voter registration enforcing statewide regulations but with statutes administered by counties. I was first entitled to vote in 1962 in Alabama during the time of state sanctioned poll taxes and voter literacy tests. When I went to register to vote for the first time I had no problem paying the $3.00 poll tax nor was I stumped by my literacy test which required that I remember my own name. About the same time, the principal of the local black high school during a time of racial segregation, could also afford a $3.00 poll tax but his literacy test required that he quote verbatim from certain sections of the Alabama state constitution which I don´t think anyone has read since 1875. Whether one is in Alabama or South Dakota or Europe or China, local corruption is manifest without the aggressive intervention of a more encompassing, more widely representative body of community thought and civil discipline.

This was back in 2004 that I registered my car in Texas so who knows what has changed in practices in Texas since but upon reflection, I remember that I was required to have my car inspected and that included, in Laredo, as best I can remember, an emissions test. The proof of residency for registration, not title transfer, was simply the question as to where I lived which, in my case was the hotel at which I was staying. I re-emphasize that this is a procedure allowed in Texas which permitted me to register my California titled car in Texas without transferring title. I was able, under these rules to register my car for one year. I don´t see what is wrong with this. In fact, I would surmise that this Texas practice grew from the demand for Texas registration arising among people perhaps temporarily living and/or working in Texas who could not practically get back to their home states and comply with registration renewals there.

The South Dakota practice being followed by a rogue clerk in Clay County violates state law to the point that the affect is ludicrous. If you drive around the municipality of Chapala in Mexico with its large expat population, you will see countless vehicles with South Dakota plates when it is unlikely there are more than a few dozen folks from that state living here and I´ll bet 90% of the people sporting those plates have never set foot in that state. I registered my car in Texas while present in Texas - I never certified as to how long I would be there and was never asked to do so.

By the way, and this may be useful to people thinking of migrating down here from the U.S. from states where maintaining current registration from afar is impractical for a number of reasons. I registered my car in Texas in order to sell it there as it was illegal then as now to sell a foreign plated car in Mexico so I drove the car from Lake Chapala to Laredo in order to sell it. The problem was that when I left California in 2001 it never occurred to me that I should have notified the California DMV that I was permanently leaving the state so they kept piling on annual registration renewal fees so when I went to the used car dealer to sell the car, they ran a California DMV check which showed I owed back registration fees and penalties. The California DMV had no legal claim to those fees as I no longer lived there and they had no lien rights at all but they managed to cloud my title to the point that the San Antonio used car dealer refused to buy the car and advised me to obtain Texas registration. Once I had registered the car in Texas but still maintaining California title, I had no problem selling the car on a return trip to Texas.

Now, let me make my self clear; I have no personal problem with a county in South Dakota transferring title and registration to South Dakota to people who have never set foot there and and never will and use mail forwarding services to establish phony addresses in the United States although that certainly violates the spirit of the law. However, corruption is corruption and once you start down that road, after so many kilometers, there´s no turning back as Calderon has recently discovered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The state of South Dakota has a law stating that non-residents can register vehicles there. I'm working with a mail forwarding service there, and I had to provide a signed and notarized affidavit stating I was not a resident of South Dakota. I'm not using the mail forwarding address as a phony residence.

Regarding insurance in Mexico on US-registered cars -- doesn't your insurance co. require that your car be registered? I haven't asked about waivers, but my company asks for plate # and state where registered. I've considered that an obstacle to driving around with expired plates. Just curious.
 

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The state of South Dakota has a law stating that non-residents can register vehicles there. I'm working with a mail forwarding service there, and I had to provide a signed and notarized affidavit stating I was not a resident of South Dakota. I'm not using the mail forwarding address as a phony residence.

Regarding insurance in Mexico on US-registered cars -- doesn't your insurance co. require that your car be registered? I haven't asked about waivers, but my company asks for plate # and state where registered. I've considered that an obstacle to driving around with expired plates. Just curious.
Interesting ideas.

Please cite the South Dakota law that says I can live in Mexico or, say Iraq or Burkina Faso and register and title my car in South Dakota.

So you have a mail forwarding service domiciled in South Dakota that requires that you provide a "notarized affidavit" warranting that you do not live in that state in order to utilize that service? A notarized affidavit? Why would a mail forwarding service care where you lived as long as they had an address anywhere where they could forward your mail based on your written application and you paid them a fee for the service? You must be their only customer not living within the confines of the state of South Dakota. How could such a mail forwarding service still be in business when one could find countless mail forwarding services in any location in the United States that will forward one´s mail without a "notarized affidavit"? Notarized by whom in Mexico? Affidavit?

For about four years we carried full insurance on our two U.S. plated vehicles imported into Mexico with California registration that expired once we got here and this was not an issue in the least with our insurance companies as long as our residency visas were maintained currently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hmmm. I'll have to check with my insurance co. on expired plates.

The affidavit was for vehicle registration. Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear on that. The mail forwarding service registered my car for me. Notarized by the US Consular Agent here in San Luis Potosi. The Agent's notary is accepted throughout the US.

Regarding the law. I can't find the page now, but it was a copy of a letter from someone in the SD state govt. to the county clerks, clarifying for them that SD law doesn't require proof of residency, and that their records should show the true residency of the applicant. I read it when I was researching making this change. If I find it, I'll let you know.
 

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Thanks for the civilized response BR. I must say you are living in a city I once contemplated moving to at a time when we were looking to find a place to live away from Lake Chapala. We ended up in San Cristóbal de Las Casas instead after much searching about but, while San Luis Potosí is an industrial city with many of the negatives that implies, we were quite fascinated by its attractive and imposing historic center and pedestrian friendly streets in that center. Lots of restaurants that seemed enticing as well. Plus, I love the high desert around the city especially along old Highway 80 heading south of the city toward Guadalajara. I think if I were going to go rural in Mexico that would be a region I would seek out. Beautiful country in my opinion.
 

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South Dakota DMV Non-Resident Information

Each of the memos on that site explain pretty well the situation. An overview is:

  • "Residency" is defined as where you "have a bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place"
  • You may register/title a vehicle in SD even if you are not a resident of SD
  • You must either list your true US address, or attach an affidavit stating that you do not have a SD drivers license, and do not have a residency in the US, and that the address you list on the application is for Mail Forwarding only along with a photo ID and your SSN.
  • Lying on any portion of your registration/titling documents is a felony.

Throughout the letters, they affirm that they understand people are doing this, and it is well within the law to do so, however there is no need to lie and claim that you are living in SD when in fact you are not.
 
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