Unique Entity Identifier Update

Updated September 9, 2019

These questions were received at the public meeting held on July 25, 2019. Answers are here [PDF - 141 KB]. Further inquiries may be directed to entityvalidation@gsa.gov. Press inquiries should be sent to press@gsa.gov.

GSA Hosts Public Meeting on Unique Entity Identifier

GSA hosted an online meeting where we provided information about the new Unique Entity ID standard (UEI). During the meeting with more than 770 attendees, we ran through a discussion of what is changing as well as when and how our stakeholders will be affected. We then fielded questions to further clarify the upcoming changes.

You can listen to and view today’s presentation on beta.SAM.gov by selecting the Unique Entity Identifier video link. The questions and answers submitted by the audience will be available at gsa.gov/entityID.

As you may be aware, we are making changes to the unique entity identifier that is used to do business with the federal government. Currently, we use the proprietary D-U-N-S® number as the unique entity identifier for doing business with the government. We are moving to a new, non-proprietary identifier that will be requested in, and assigned by, the System for Award Management (SAM.gov).

An announcement has been posted in the Federal Register to give notice about the new UEI which includes the standard for the identifier.

Further updates about the unique entity ID can be found here: gsa.gov/entityid.

Questions related to government implementation can be directed to entityvalidation@gsa.gov. All media questions should be directed to the GSA Media Affairs at press@gsa.gov.

Unique Entity Identifier Information

Starting in December 2020, the D-U-N-S® number will no longer be the official identifier for doing business with the U.S. Government. What is changing?

  • The unique entity identifier used to do business with the government is changing.

  • The process to get a unique entity identifier to do business with the government is changing.

  • The definition of entity uniqueness is not changing.

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

Over the next 18 months, we will:

  • Phase-out the D-U-N-S® number as the official identifier for doing business with the government.

  • Introduce a new unique Entity ID, generated in the System for Award Management (SAM.gov), as the official identifier for doing business with the government.

  • Make it easier to request an Entity Identifier 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 D-U-N-S ® numbers already assigned to records for historical purposes following the transition.

New Identifier

The unique entity identifier used to do business with the government is changing.

  • Today, we use the D-U-N-S® number as the unique entity identifier for doing business with the U.S. Government.

  • We are moving to a new, non-proprietary identifier requested in, and assigned by, the System for Award Management (SAM.gov).

  • The technical specifications for the new unique Entity ID have been published in the Federal Register.

Unique Entity Identifier Details

The SAM-generated Unique Entity Identifier is a new data element assigned by SAM.gov. SAM.gov records that have already been assigned D-U-N-S ® numbers prior to the completion of the transition will retain the DUNS for historical purposes and D&B open data limitations remain in effect in perpetuity.

The new UEI is stored as a twelve (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’ or ‘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 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.

  • The first five characters will be structured to avoid collision with the Commercial and Government Entity code formatting or CAGE code.

  • The Unique Entity ID 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 Unique Entity ID 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 Unique Entity Identifier is assigned to an entity registration in SAM.gov, the existing EFT Indicator data will not change.

New Process

The process to get a unique entity identifier (Entity ID) to do business with the government is changing.

  • Today, entities go to Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) to request their D-U-N-S ® number.

    • Only after their D-U-N-S ® number is assigned, can they go to the System for Award Management (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 D-U-N-S ® 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 unique entity identifier.

    • They contact the D&B help desk for issues related to their D-U-N-S ® number or D-U-N-S ® record and the Federal Service Desk (FSD) for help with their SAM.gov entity registration.

  • Starting in December 2020, we are making it easier to get an Entity ID by streamlining the request and ongoing management process. Entities will go to a single place, SAM.gov, to:

    • Request their Unique Entity ID 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 Unique Entity ID.
    • Entities will have a single customer support helpdesk for all Entity ID and entity registration issues.

Same Definition of Unique

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

  • 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 unique entity identifier is assigned to that entity.

  • We separated the government requirement for a unique entity identifier from the government requirement to validate that the entity is unique.

    • This prepares us to transition to the new, non-proprietary identifier requested in, and assigned by, the System for Award Management (SAM.gov).

  • We then competed and awarded a new contract for entity validation services which is not connected to the identifier itself.

    • This creates predictability for the cost and burden of change, i.e. the government and entities will transition from using the D-U-N-S ® number only once, even if in the future a different entity validation service provider is selected.

  • Today, entity validation services are provided by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). The new entity validation services provider is Ernst & Young (EY).

    • The service providers must validate the entity is unique. The definition of unique is not changing.

Transition

Over the next 18 months, we will transition to the new unique Entity Identifier supported by the new entity validation services. We are using a three-phased approach to minimize disruption. The high-level implementation schedule will be released later in FY 2019, Quarter 4.

Current State: (Present - July 2019)

  • The D-U-N-S ® number is the official identifier for doing business with the government.

  • Entities continue to register in SAM.gov using the D-U-N-S ® number assigned by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).

  • Entity uniqueness continues to be validated by D&B as part of D-U-N-S ® number assignment process.

  • GSA publishes the technical standard for the new SAM-generated unique Entity ID.

Transition Phase: (July 2019 - December 2020)

  • The D-U-N-S ® number remains the official identifier for doing business with the U.S. Government.

  • Entities continue to register in SAM.gov using the D-U-N-S ® number assigned by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).

  • Entity uniqueness continues to be validated by D&B as part of the D-U-N-S ® number assignment process.

  • GSA publishes updated technical specifications, which include the new SAM-generated unique Entity ID, for interfacing systems.

  • GSA develops tools needed to generate Unique Entity IDs.

  • 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.

Phase 3: Future State; Transition Complete (December 2020)

  • The SAM-generated unique Entity Identifier becomes the official identifier for doing business with the U.S. Government.

  • Entities request new unique Entity IDs through SAM.gov before starting their entity registration.

  • Entity uniqueness is determined by the new entity validation service provider.

  • D-U-N-S ® numbers already assigned to records are retained for historical purposes.

What will happen to my existing entity registration during the transition?

  • Your registration will automatically be assigned a new UEI which will be displayed in SAM.gov.

  • 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.

  • D-U-N-S ® assigned to the registration will be retained for search and reference purposes.

The shortcut to this page is gsa.gov/entityid

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