Unique Entity Identifier Update

What is a Unique Entity Identifier?

A Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) is a unique number assigned to all entities (public and private companies, individuals, institutions, or organizations) who register to do business with the federal government. This page contains more information about UEIs.

What is Happening?

New Unique Entity Identifiers will be automatically assigned to entities registered in SAM at a future date.

What Action Do I Need to Take?

Users are not required to take any action at this time. The IAE has shifted the UEI transition date from December 2020 to a future, to-be-determined date.

Where Do I Get More Information

Visit UEI Technical Specifications and API Information page to learn more about UEI/EVS technical specifications for interfacing systems and sample data extracts.

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.

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.
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 your DUNS number is assigned can you 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 your DUNS record is updated, and the data is available to SAM.gov, can you update their entity registration.
  • Today, entities may have to contact two different help desks if you have questions about your UEI.
    • You 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 your SAM.gov entity registration.
  • With the transition, we are making it easier to get a UEI by streamlining the request and ongoing management process. You will go to a single place, SAM.gov, to:
    • Request your UEI and register your entity to do business with the U.S. Government.
    • Make any updates to your legal business name and physical address associated with the UEI.
    • Find customer support at a single helpdesk for all UEI and entity registration issues.
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.

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.

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.
  • 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: 2020-06-03