Unique Entity Identifier Update

Unique Entity Identifier Update

UEI Background

The US Federal government has used services from Dun and Bradstreet to both identify (using the DUNS® number) and validate/verify federal contractors since 1978. In 1998, entities were required to get a DUNS number by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). In 2008, this requirement expanded to federal financial assistance, affecting over 630,000 public and private entities seeking federal contracts and/or grants.

UEI Information

The official identifier for doing business with the U.S. Government is changing.

  • The unique entity identifier (UEI) used to do business with the government is changing.
  • The process to get a UEI to do business with the government is changing.
  • The definition of entity uniqueness is not changing.

Change can be confusing and frustrating. We want to make the change easier by sharing information about the coming changes and transition plan.

During the transition, we will:

  • Phase out the DUNS number as the official identifier for doing business with the federal government.
  • Introduce a new UEI, generated in the System for Award Management (SAM.gov), as the official identifier for doing business with the government.
  • Make it easier to request a UEI to do business with the government.
  • Transition to a new service provider to validate entity uniqueness.
  • Receive continued support from Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) during the transition.
  • Retain DUNS numbers already assigned to records for historical purposes following the transition.

New Process to Obtain a UEI

The process to get a new UEI to do business with the government is changing.

  • Today, entities go to D&B to request their DUNS number.
    • Only after their DUNS number is assigned can they go to SAM.gov and register to do business with the government.
  • Today, entities must record any changes to their legal business name and physical address with D&B.
    • Only after their DUNS record is updated, and the data is available to SAM.gov, can they update their entity registration.
  • Today, entities may have to contact two different help desks if they have questions about their UEI.
    • They contact the D&B help desk for issues related to their DUNS number or DUNS record and the Federal Service Desk (FSD) for help with their SAM.gov entity registration.
  • With the transition, we are making it easier to get a UEI by streamlining the request and ongoing management process. Entities will go to a single place, SAM.gov, to:
    • Request their UEI and register their entity to do business with the U.S. Government.
    • Make any updates to their legal business name and physical address associated with the UEI.
    • Find customer support at a single helpdesk for all UEI and entity registration issues.

Same Definition of Unique

The definition of what makes an entity unique is not changing.

  • Integrated Award Environment (IAE) acquires commercial entity validation services (EVS) 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.
  • Based on the uniqueness determination, a UEI is assigned to that entity.
  • Today, entity validation services are provided by D&B. The new entity validation services provider is Ernst & Young (EY).
    • The service providers must validate that entities are unique. The definition of unique is not changing.

Transition Phase: (July 2019–Transition Completion)

  • The DUNS number remains the official identifier for doing business with the U.S. Government.
  • Entities continue to register in SAM.gov using the DUNS number assigned by D&B.
  • Entity uniqueness continues to be validated by D&B as part of the DUNS number assignment process.
  • GSA published updated technical specifications, which include the new SAM-generated UEI, for interfacing systems in December 2019.
  • GSA develops the tools needed to generate UEIs.
  • GSA develops an interface to new entity validation service provider to determine entity uniqueness.
  • GSA supports robust testing of new interfaces with agency systems.
  • GSA communicates upcoming changes to stakeholders, sharing more detail as available.

Transition Complete

  • The SAM-generated UEI becomes the official identifier for doing business with the U.S. Government.
  • Entities request new UEIs through SAM.gov before starting their entity registration.
  • Entity uniqueness is determined by the new entity validation service provider.
  • DUNS numbers already assigned to records are retained for historical purposes.

Transition for Existing Entities

  • Your registration will automatically be assigned a new UEI which will be displayed in SAM.gov.
  • The purpose of registration, core data, assertions, representations & certifications, points of contacts, etc. in SAM.gov will not change and no one will be required to re-enter this data.
  • The DUNS number assigned to the registration will be retained for search and reference purposes.

The New UEI Standard

The standard for the new unique Entity ID has been published in the Federal Register.

The new UEI is stored as a 12-character, alpha-numeric value within databases and passed as such within interfaces and extracts. This 12-character value will adhere to the following rules:

  • The letters “O” and “I” will not be used to avoid confusion with zero and one.
  • The first character will not be zero to avoid cutting off digits that can occur during data imports, for example, when importing data into spreadsheet programs.
  • Nine-digit sequences will not be used in the identifier to avoid collision with the nine-digit DUNS number or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
  • The first five characters will be structured to avoid collision with the Commercial and Government Entity code formatting or CAGE code.
  • The UEI will not be case sensitive.
  • The final character will be a checksum of the first 11 characters. Checksums are used to detect errors within data.
  • The UEI will not contain the entity’s Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Indicator. The EFT Indicator will remain a separate field in SAM.gov.
    • Today the “EFT Indicator” in SAM.gov is labeled “DUNS+4”.
    • The DUNS+4 field in SAM.gov is used to identify additional bank accounts associated with a single SAM.gov registration. The DUNS+4 is a separate field from the DUNS field in SAM.gov.
    • The DUNS+4 is not provided by D&B but is determined by the entity during registration.
    • Soon, the DUNS+4 field name in SAM.gov will be re-labeled to “EFT Indicator” to align with regulations. The DUNS+4 data provided by entities in that field will not change with the re-labeling.
    • Additionally, when a new UEI is assigned to an entity registration in SAM.gov, the existing EFT Indicator data will not change.

Why We are Changing

The change we are making creates predictability for the cost of entity validation services. By separating the government requirement for a UEI from the government requirement to validate that the entity is unique, we introduce competitiveness into entity validation services. We then competed and awarded a new contract for entity validation services which is not connected to the identifier itself.

We chose to have the new, non-proprietary identifier both requested in and generated by SAM.gov to reduce the burden of change; the government and entities will transition from using the DUNS number only once, even if in the future a different entity validation service provider is selected.

UEI Technical Specifications

Many systems outside of the GSA interface with award data and information, including UEI data. To help our partners across the federal government and the public, we have published all of the updated UEI/EVS technical specifications for interfacing systems. Technical teams can finalize plans to accommodate these interface changes and continue the development required to test with IAE.

Group 1 includes:

  • The beta.SAM.gov Entity Management API has updated schemas for what will be a second version of the API. This API allows interfacing systems to pull information about the entity via an automated process. Field differences between versions are marked as v1 (current version) or v2 (future version). Go to the Entity Management API page to find the specifications.
  • The SAM Entity Management Web Services will not be updated to incorporate UEI or new EVS changes. All users of this web service will need to migrate to the beta.SAM.gov Entity Management API to retrieve UEI and new EVS information.
  • The SAM public RESTful API will not be updated to incorporate UEI or new EVS changes. All users of this RESTful API will need to migrate to the beta.SAM.gov Entity Management API to retrieve UEI and new EVS information

Group 2 includes:

  • The beta.SAM.gov Exclusions API has updated schemas for what will be a version 2 of the API. This API allows interfacing systems to pull information about the exclusions via an automated process. Field differences between versions are marked as v1 (current version) or v2 (future version). Go to the Exclusions API page to find the specifications.
  • The SAM Exclusions Search Web Services will not be updated to incorporate UEI or new EVS changes. All users of this web service will need to migrate to the beta.SAM.gov Exclusions API to retrieve UEI and new EVS information regarding exclusions via interface.

Group 3 includes:

  • Legacy SAM has updated schemas for what will be version 3 of the Sensitive Entity Extract and versions 2 of the Public Entity, FOUO Entity, and Exclusions Extracts. These extracts allow interfacing systems and users to pull information about registered entities and exclusions in bulk. Go to SAM News and Announcement page to obtain the specifications in the SAM announcements section.
  • FPDS has updated information for UEI in the web services and specifications for v1.1 of the FAADC services. Contract award data web services will utilize four of the generic string tags that were built into v1.5 as follows:
    • genericString02 - Awardee UEI
    • genericString03 - Immediate Parent UEI
    • genericString04 - Domestic Parent UEI
    • genericString05 - Global Parent UEI
  • Interfacing systems will submit genericString02 on CAR submissions. Generic Strings 03,04, and 05 would be populated within FPDS and available for pulling data via the atom feeds and web services (as appropriate for system access).
  • FPDS web service specifications are available at the FPDS worksite here.
  • FAADC web service specifications are available at the FPDS worksite as follows:
  • Atom feed specifications are available at:

Group 4 includes:

  • Legacy SAM has updated schemas for new versions of the Exclusions XML Uploader which allows bulk upload of exclusions. The updated schemas are in the deployment pipeline to be posted on SAM.gov’s Announcement page. Go to SAM.gov’s Announcement page to obtain the specifications in the SAM announcements section.
  • Beta.SAM Opportunities Management APIs
    Beta.SAM Opportunities Management APIs updates are in the deployment pipeline for publication on Open GSA with updated information on UEI-related fields used in Opportunities API operations.
  • Beta.SAM Opportunities SOAP Services
    Beta.SAM Opportunities SOAP Services will not be updated to incorporate UEI or new EVS changes. All users of these SOAP services will need to migrate to the beta.SAM Opportunities REST APIs to submit and retrieve UEI information via interface.
  • Updated information about UEI in the Opportunities Publics API is currently available on Open GSA.

Please view the IAE’s EntityID Webinar which contains the history of this effort. Questions received at the public meeting held on July 25, 2019 have answers provided here [PDF - 141 KB]. Watch this page as questions and answers about the transition will be posted here. User questions specific to the testing of these interfaces should be directed to newsamtesting@gsa.gov. Users who have specific questions regarding the SAM-generated UEI or entity validation services should reach out to entityvalidation@gsa.gov.

Timeline of Activities to Open Data and Competition

  • December 2014 – proprietary references removed from 2 CFR.
  • 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 Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS®) number, and provided appropriate references to the Web site where information on the unique entity identifier used for federal awards would be located. The final rule also established the definition of “unique entity identifier.”
  • November 2016 – OMB (OFFM and OFPP) created an interagency working group to zero-base business needs for entity validation and verification requirements.
  • In 2017 – GSA engaged the public and Integrated Award Environment (IAE) governance on entity validation and a government identifier:
    • February – GSA released a Request For Information (RFI) and vendor engagement for entity validation services
    • July – the final policy and business outcomes for validation and verification were completed
    • October – GSA released a second RFI and vendor engagement for entity verification services
  • August 2018 – GSA released a Request for Proposal for government-wide Entity Validation Services inclusive of new government-owned Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) approach
  • November 2018 – GSA convened an interagency team to make recommendations on the standards for a government-owned UEI to use in federal awarding and management processes.
  • In March 2019, GSA awarded a contract for entity validation services.
  • June – a working group delivered recommendations on UEI standards to IAE governance; governance approved standard for publication
  • July – GSA published a Federal Register Notice containing standards for UEI and held a public meeting to review the standards October – convened an interagency, cross-functional working group to identify and resolve policy and IT issues for implementation

Further Questions

Further inquiries may be directed to entityvalidation@gsa.gov. Press inquiries should be sent to press@gsa.gov

The shortcut to this page is gsa.gov/entityid

Last Reviewed: 2020-04-02