Unique Entity Identifier Update

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 for what makes an entity unique 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 ID 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 proprietary 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 to give interfacing systems time to prepare for the change.

New Process

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

  • Today, entities go first 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 first at D&B.

    • Only after their D-U-N-S ® record is updated, and the data flows to SAM.gov, can they update their entity registration.

  • Today, entities must 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 both request their Entity ID and register their entity to do business with the U.S. Government.

    • Entities will go to a single place, SAM.gov, to make any updates to their legal business name and physical address associated with the Entity ID.

    • Entities will have a single customer support helpdesk for all Entity ID and SAM.gov entity registration issues.

Same Definition of Unique

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

We buy commercial services to verify entity uniqueness by matching certain entity-provided information against the service provider’s data.

    • Uniqueness is based primarily on a combination of the entity’s legal name, any name by which they also do business, and their physical address.

    • Once verified, that entity information is associated with a unique entity identifier.

  • 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).

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

Transition

Over the next eighteen months, we will transition to the new unique Entity ID supported by the new entity validation services. We are using a three-phased approach to minimize disruption.

Phase 1: Transition Defined (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.

Phase 2: Transition Begins (July 2019 - December 2020)

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

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

  • GSA develops tools needed to generate unique Entity IDs in SAM.gov.

  • GSA begins to assign, and make visible, new SAM-generated unique Entity IDs for all SAM registration records.

  • GSA develops 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: Transition Complete (December 2020)

  • The SAM-generated unique Entity ID 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.

Unique Entity Identifier three phases to transition the entity ID

The shortcut to this page is gsa.gov/entityid

print Share Icon Last Reviewed: 2019-07-10