The move from using DUNS numbers as the Unique Entity ID (UEI) to the new, SAM-issued UEI is a federal government-wide initiative. The process started more than four years ago and is set to conclude on April 4th, 2022. With the deadline quickly approaching, GSA held a Stakeholders Forum on August 12th, 2021 to give a status update and provide further details on this transition process.
Below we answer some of the most common questions surrounding the change to the new Unique Entity ID.
1. What is the Unique Entity ID?
The federal government uses a unique identifier for each entity (company, non-profit, educational institution, etc…) that does business with the federal government. For more than two decades, Dun & Bradstreet’s Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) has served as the unique entity ID. That ends on April 4, 2022 when the federal government completes the transition to the new UEI that is issued within the System for Award Management (SAM).
Today: The DUNS Number is the authoritative unique entity identifier used by the federal government.
- The DUNS Number is a 9-character numeric value.
- DUNS Numbers are issued by a third party, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).
- There is no fee to obtain a DUNS Number.
Starting April 4, 2022: A UEI issued through SAM, referred to as the Unique Entity ID (SAM), will be the authoritative unique entity identifier used by the federal government.
- The Unique Entity ID (SAM) is a 12-character alphanumeric value.
- The Unique Entity ID (SAM) is issued by the government as part of the SAM registration process.
- There is no fee to obtain a Unique Entity ID (SAM).
The DUNS Number will remain the authoritative identifier until 4/3/2022.
2. How does this change affect you?
Government contractors should be aware of the upcoming change. If your company is already registered in SAM, the transition is automatic. However, you should review your internal systems and plan to replace any use of the DUNS number with the new SAM-based UEI. Federal agencies will arguably feel the greatest impact as they are tasked with transitioning their systems by April 4th of next year.
- If your company is registered in SAM today (either as an active or inactive registration), you’ve already been assigned the new Unique Entity ID (SAM).
- During the transition period between now and April 4, 2022, you will see both the DUNS UEI and the new SAM UEI in the System for Award Management.
- Starting on April 4, 2022, the DUNS UEI will be eliminated from SAM, leaving the Unique Entity ID (SAM) as the only UEI.
- If your company is registering in SAM on or after April 4, 2022, you are no longer required to obtain a DUNS number from D&B as part of the registration process. Instead, you will be assigned a UEI within SAM.
For a guide on how to view your Unique Entity ID (SAM) click here.
3. What is the process to getting Unique Entity ID after April 4th, and how long will it take?
- Starting April 4th, you must request a Unique Entity ID in SAM.
- To start the process, you’ll enter you legal company or entity name and address.
- A validation service will display potential matches.
- If you confirm a match, the validation is considered successful and you’ll receive your Unique Entity ID immediately. Note: if you go on to complete the full entity registration process, it will take up to 10 business days to complete.
- If you cannot confirm a match, even after editing your legal name and address, you’ll need to contact the Federal Service Desk.
4. Why is the DUNS Number Being Replaced as the UEI?
- DUNS Numbers are provided through a private company, Dun & Bradstreet. In order to obtain a DUNS number, companies must go through D&B’s website prior to registering on SAM.
- Eliminating the third party website from the process, makes it easier for companies to register in SAM and update their registration.
- Starting April 4th, you can complete the SAM registration process or update your registration record entirely within SAM.gov. You will no longer need to visit a third party website to obtain your UEI or update your company name or address in SAM.
- While GSA is still using a third party to complete the validation process, the SAM-generated UEI allows GSA to re-compete the contract in the future without disrupting the UEI moving forward.