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Why The Change To A Unique Entity Identifier

DUNS Tutorial

This transition was prompted by the fact that in order to receive your DUNS Number, business owners would have to go through a third-party entity, Dun and Bradstreet. This not only means business owners would have to interface with a third party for obtaining a DUNS number, but would also have to use the third-party help desk if any complications arose.

However, the government needed access to this DUNS number on SAM.gov, where businesses must be registered to participate in the federal market. This left business owners stuck between a private website to receive and maintain a DUNS Number, and then with a government website to register all of their information. Having to interface with two separate websites could not only be confusing but also could create a disconnect in the acquisition process.

Administration Adds 16 Months To Transition From Duns To Unique Id

The General Services Administration will extend Dun & Bradstreets services while agencies get more time to patch and test systems.

GSA pushed the deadline for adopting a new identifier for non-governmental organizations receiving funds from the government, giving federal agencies and contractors another 16 months to patch and test their systems.

The government is shifting from the DUNS number the unique identifier for every organization doing business with the government since 1962 to the Unique Entity Identifier. Agencies were originally expected to make the switch by December 2020 but have been given an extension to April 2022.

However, federal officials tell Nextgov the deadline extension will only help if agencies and organizations are able to use DUNS and UEI numbers at the same time during a testing period, which might be possible under the revised timeline.

Procurement, grants and financial reporting executives across the government were scrambling to meet the December 2020 deadline to turn off an almost 60-year standard for identifying organizations doing business with the government and switch to a brand new system introduced last year.

This is a pretty unique business problem, an agency official working through the transition told Nextgov. This is not just large-scale system modernization. This is the most interdependent thing about doing business between the federal government and a non-federal entityits at the heart of it.

What Is Not Changing With The Transition From Duns To Uei

The definition of entity uniqueness is not changing. The Integrated Award Environment acquires commercial entity validation services to validate entity uniqueness and entity core data. Uniqueness is based on an entity being a separate legal entity and/or associated with a separate physical address. Once the uniqueness is determined, a UEI is then assigned to that entity.

It is also important to note that the purpose of registration, core data, assertions, representations & certifications, Point of Contacts, etc. in SAM.gov will not change and no will be required to re-enter this data after the transition is made.

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What Action Do I Need To Take

If your entity is registered in SAM.gov today, your Unique Entity ID has already been assigned and is viewable in SAM.gov. This includes inactive registrations. The Unique Entity ID is located on your entity registration record. Remember, you must be signed in to your SAM.gov account to view entity records. To learn how to view your Unique Entity ID go to this help article.

Refer to the Guide to Getting a Unique Entity ID if you want to get a Unique Entity ID for your organization without having to complete an entity registration. If you only conduct certain types of transactions, such as reporting as a sub-awardee, you may not need to complete an entity registration. Your entity may only need a Unique Entity ID.

If you operate a system that connects with IAE systems, documentation about using APIs to access SAM.gov is found at is open.GSA.gov. The latest version of FPDS ATOM feed includes the Unique Entity ID.

Agency system owners are encouraged to join the Technical Interface Community .

Unique Entity Id Transition Information

What is a DUNS Number Used For? Here are 10 Uses
  • The process to get a Unique Entity ID to do business with the governmentchanged.
  • The definition of entity uniqueness did not change.

Change can be confusing and frustrating. To make the change easier, we shared information about the changes and transition plan.

During the transition, we:

  • Phased out the DUNS Number as the official identifier for doing business with the federal government.
  • Introduced a new Unique Entity ID, generated in the System for Award Management , as the official identifier for doing business with the government.
  • Made it easier to get a Unique Entity ID to do business with the government.
  • Transitioned to a new service provider to validate entity uniqueness.

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Should I Put My Duns Number On My Website

Often, small businesses owners are concerned about sharing their DUNS number on their company website and other marketing material. Go ahead and put your DUNS number on your website it was designed specifically to be a publicly available unique identifier.

Unlike your social security number and your Employer Identification Number which are sensitive information and should not be publicly shared, the DUNS number was designed to be used in the many publicly accessible systems used by the United States federal government.

For example, USA Spending and the Federal Procurement Database System provide data about contract awards made by federal government agencies. This information includes the terms of agreement, amount of the award, and details about the company that won each award. These tools use the DUNS number as a way of keeping the information in sync among the governments systems.

Protect your social security number. Protect your employer identification number. But proudly and broadly share your DUNS number. Thats one way a federal buyer can research you to see if you are procurement ready and evaluate any of your past performance.

Getting A Unique Entity Id In Samgov

Once the full transition is made, you will enter your entity’s legal business name and address into SAM.gov. If the validation service finds a match, it will display your entityâs name and address for you to confirm. SAM.gov will display your Unique Entity ID, if that is all you need than you are done, but you can also choose to start an entity registration if youâd like.

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The Federal Government Is Transitioning From The Duns Number To A Unique Entity Identifier

Resources and Insight | 4 Min Read

Historically, if you were looking to do business with the federal government you would register your business under a unique identifier, known as a Data Universal Numbering System Number. The government has recently announced an initiative to move away from DUNS as the identifier and now will use a Unique Entity Identifier . This transition is projected to be completed by April 4th, 2022. What does this mean for you and your business?

Uei For The Entire Lifecycle Of An Award


The UEI is a 12-character alphanumeric identifier that is owned and managed by the government. It connects agencies and companies throughout the federal award lifecycle whether its writing a contract or managing a grant.

The benefit that we see from the users perspective is that its going to be more convenient. Theyre not going to have to go to multiple sites and theyre not going to have to interact with a third party directly. Theyre going to be able to go to SAM.gov, provide the information or request a unique entity identifier, get the entity validation done and move on with whatever else they need to do, Whitehead said. That convenience factor, that ease of experience is something that were really looking forward to providing.

Whitehead said there are several reasons the UEI implementation took so long. First, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council had tochange regulations to remove references to DUNS numbers and replace them with UEI.

That change allowed us to compete the validation and then decouple the fact that we were having an identifier, the thing that connects to the entity from the validation service, on the back end, she said. Thats a good thing over time that allows increased competition. It removes the proprietary nature of the identifier, and really means that no matter who in the future, were to provide the service, this huge giant governmentwide change only has to happen once.

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Unique Entity Identifier To Replace Dun And Bradstreet Number

On April 4th, the General Services Administration will complete a major technology modernization project that began back in 2012 The federal government will be replacing the Dun and Bradstreet numbers number with a new Unique Entity Identifier known as the Unique Entity ID.

Continue reading to learn what that means for your small business, and what you need to do now.

What is a Unique Entity Identifier?

The federal government uses an award system called SAM, which stands for System for Award Management. Any entity that wants to bid on federal contracts or wants to receive federal funds must first register with SAM. Entities that use SAM include for-profit businesses, nonprofits, government contractors, subcontractors, as well as state and local governments .

The Unique Entity ID commonly referred to as a UEI, is a 12-character alphanumeric identifier assigned to an entity by SAM.gov. The Unique Entity ID is generated, owned, and managed by SAM.gov. It connects these entities and companies throughout the federal award lifecycle whether its bidding on a contract or managing a grant.

If your business or nonprofit is already registered in SAM.gov then you already have a Unique Entity ID. You can find it by logging in at SAM.gov.

If you have not registered with SAM.gov, you will get your Unique Entity ID during registration. Registration is free !

Is the Unique Entity Identifier the Same as my old DUNS number?

How Do I Locate My New UEI Number?

Quick FAQs

How Will The Transition From Duns To Uei Affect Contractors

Now that we understand why GSA is making this change, lets get into how it affects business owners. Luckily, if you already have a DUNS Number registered in SAM.gov you will simply have a new UEI automatically assigned to you, and it will replace your DUNS.

However, if you are registering your business for the first time on SAM.gov, you will register for a UEI and provide basic data to validate uniqueness.

Whether you have a DUNS or are applying for a UEI, you should expect a completely different unique entity identifier than what you currently have. This identifier will also look a little different from the historically used DUNS Number. The DUNS Number is a 9-character numeric value, the UEI is a 12-character alphanumeric value.

As mentioned above, the entity validation services are provided by Dun and Bradstreet. The transition to UEI will include changing entity validation service provider. Once transitioned, uniqueness determination and entity validation services will be provided by Ernst & Young.

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Unique Identification Codes For Federal Contractors: Duns Numbers And Cage Codes

May 5, 2016 May 31, 2017R44490

An essential element of the federal governmentâs acquisition system is the capability to identify the businesses, and other types of entities, that do work for the government. Accurate identification of potential contractors and incumbent contractors facilitates a host of procurement processes while contributing to the transparency of federal government procurement.

The federal government uses a proprietary system, Dun & Bradstreetâs Data Universal Numbering System , to uniquely identify the entities with which it does business. At no cost to the applicant, D& B assigns a DUNS numberâa nine-digit unique identification codeâto prospective government contractors. The federal governmentâs use of DUNS, however, is not limited to the identification numbers. D& B provides, pursuant to its contract with the General Services Administration , 7 types of software products and 14 data products that enable the government to use DUNS for a variety of acquisition-related functions, such as paying contractors. Furthermore, approximately 80 data systems within the federal government contain DUNS information.

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Does Every Company Have A Duns Number


For companies NOT selling to the federal government, DUNS numbers are optional.

DUNS numbers are REQUIRED for federal government contractors FAR regulated since 1998. Over 80 federal government systems use DUNS numbers for tracking purposes.

DUNS numbers are assigned at the lowest organizational level which, for small-business federal contractors, typically are unique business locations.

Your headquarters would typically reflect the first DUNS number your company gets, and any new DUNS number related to this business would be requested as a child DUNS number under the parent number assigned to your headquarters.

The government uses DUNS numbers to identify your company. You can avoid all the deep details around DUNS numbers, but the reality isif you want to sell to the federal government, you must have a DUNS number. This will change in late 2020 when DUNS numbers are replaced with government generated unique identifiers.

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Cial Dun & Bradstreet Announces Partnership With The Federal Government Of Brazil To Enable The Brazilian Government And Companies To Be More Internationally Competitive

Sao Paulo, Brazil, October 1, 2020 The Brazil Ministry of Economy and CIAL Dun & Bradstreet are pleased to announce a partnership enabling foreign corporations to bid on Brazilian government projects. This initiative delivers on the Brazilian Governments commitment to transition to global procurement of projects, gaining benefit from world-class international businesses.

Commencing October 1, 2020, International companies are allowed to bid on Government contracts without the need to set-up a local entity prior to being awarded the bid. The identification of all international companies will be accomplished using the D-U-N-S® Number as the unique identifier of businesses within the procurement process. The new system of Data Management will help the government identify and organize its suppliers from Brazil and abroad. A more Data-Driven procurement process will enable the Government to have more insights on its current and new suppliers and thus reduce fraud, improve supplier selection, and adhere to compliance requirements. It provides insight into suppliers ownership structure, financial and operational capability of fulfilling the contract, among other vital information. The D-U-N-S Number and the CIAL Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud will be an integral part of the Government procurement system providing transparency, efficiency, and insight.

Gsa Awards Contract To Replace Duns Number For Entity Validation In System For Award Management

Image: “Dun and Bradstreet”

“FEDSCOOP”“Now, instead of the DUNS number, GSA, through Ernst and Young, will use a government-owned unique entity identifier called the SAM Managed Identifier within SAM and GSAs Integrated Award Environment. This eliminates issues with vendor lock-in associated with the government relying on a private companys proprietary identifier.”___________________________________________________________________

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Commercial And Government Entity System And Codes

The Department of Defense created the CAGE system between 1945 and 1950 its original purpose was to catalog various items .21 Subsequently, other purposes were added, such as using CAGE codes to identify vendors.22 The CAGE Branch of the Defense Logistics Agency , which is the only authorized source of these codes, assigns CAGE codes to entities located in the United States or its outlying areas.23 A CAGE code is a five-character alpha-numeric identifier that belongs to a nonproprietary system created by DOD. Similar to DUNS numbers, some contractors may have the same, or similar, names. See Figure 2 for an illustrative list of companies and their respective CAGE codes. DLA assigns CAGE codes per legal entity at individual physical addresses .24 There is no cost for obtaining a CAGE code.25

Figure 2. Examples of CAGE Codes

U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency, Logistics Information Service, at .

Timeline Of Activities To Open Data And Competition

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  • On October 31, 2016, the FAR was amended via a final rule to re-designate the terminology for unique identification of entities receiving federal awards. The change to the FAR eliminated references to the proprietary DUNS Number, and provided appropriate references to the website where information on the unique entity identifier used for federal awards would be located. The final rule also established the definition of âunique entity identifier.â
  • In 2017 – GSA engaged the public and Integrated Award Environment governance on entity validation and a government identifier:
  • In March 2019, GSA awarded a contract for entity validation services.
  • October 2020 – The Office of Management and Budget directed federal agencies to finalize their transition to using the SAM-generated unique entity identifier . GSA will be contracting with D& B to ensure full continuity of servicesâincluding DUNS Number assignment, monitoring, and validation of entity uniquenessâduring the extended transition period.
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    The Data Act And Unique Identifiers

    Enacted on May 9, 2014, the DATA Act gave the Director of OMB and the Secretary of the Treasury responsibility for operating the USAspending.gov website, including the development, or adoption, of data elements. The DATA Act mentions unique identifiers ⦠for entities43 receiving Federal awards that can be consistently applied Government-wide.44 The Department of the Treasury and OMB have named this data element the awardee/recipient unique identifier.45

    The discussion of this data element by the Treasury and OMB noted that the federal government continues to use the Data Universal Numbering System described relevant regulatory changes alluded to possible challenges if the government opts to implement a new identification system and confirmed that the federal government is exploring alternatives to DUNS.46 In their discussion of the awardee/recipient unique identifier data element, which is provided below, the Department of the Treasury and OMB describe the ongoing effort to identify and select an identification system that will meet the needs of the federal government.

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