The federal government is replacing the DUNS number with a new unique entity identifier known as the Unique Entity Identifier. Here’s what that means for your small business and what you need to do now.
What is a Unique Entity ID?
The Unique Entity Identifier is the official identifier for doing business with the U.S. government as of April 4, 2022. It is a 12-character alphanumeric identifier assigned to an entity by SAM.gov. The federal government uses a system called SAM, which stands for System for Award Management. Any entity wishing to apply for federal contracts or wishing to receive federal funds must register with SAM. Entities that use SAM include for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, government contractors or contractors, and state and local governments.
The unique entity ID is generated in SAM.gov. If your business or nonprofit is already registered on SAM.gov, whether active or not, you already have a unique entity identifier. You can find it on SAM.gov.
If you are not registered with SAM.gov, you will obtain your Unique Entity ID (SAM) upon registration. Registration is free.
Is the unique entity identifier the same as DUNS?
No. Prior to the launch of the UEI as an identifier for use in SAM, small businesses wishing to do business with the federal government had to obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. They are now assigned a federally managed EUI.
How can I find my UEI number?
You will only have the UEI if you have already completed the SAM.gov registration. If so, you can log into SAM.gov to view your entity registration record and obtain your UEI. (If you’re not sure if you’re registered, you can always try logging in.)
How can I get a UEI number?
If you are registering for the first time on SAM.gov, you will automatically be assigned an UEI during the registration process. New SAM registrants will see two options, which will allow them to obtain a new unique entity ID:
- If you wish to bid directly on federal government contracts or grants, choose “Save Entity”.
- If you’re a subrecipient on a grant or contract that just needs a unique entity ID for subaward reporting, choose “Get Unique Entity ID.”
You will be asked for your legal business name and physical address. Note that you will not be able to use a PO Box as an address.
The Entity Validation Service is a service used to independently verify that a business is a separate legal entity with a separate physical address. You may be asked for the date and state in which your business was incorporated for entity validation purposes, you may want to have this handy. You may also be asked for additional documents to verify your business identity.
Does my business need an EUI?
There are many opportunities for small businesses to grow their business through federal government contracting or procurement opportunities, as well as federal loans, grants, or financial assistance programs. You will need an UEI if you wish to pursue these opportunities.
You do not need an EUI to file business income tax returns with the federal government. For this, you will need a tax identification number, which will be either an employer identification number (EIN) or your social security number.
Additionally, you can search for federal grants at Grants.gov. If you decide to apply for federal government grants, you will need to register with SAM.
Does my business still need a DUNS number?
It is a good idea for small businesses to obtain a DUNS number as it is used as an identifier in Dun & Bradstreet’s commercial credit reporting system. Obtaining a DUNS number is one of the first steps in obtaining business credit. If your company does not already have one, you can request a DUNS (short for Data Universal Numbering System) number free of charge.
While the US General Services Administration warns that “you will no longer find the DUNS number in SAM.gov searches, views, or extracts”, this does not mean that your business no longer has a DUNS number, just that it does not. It is most used within the federal government’s Integrated Award Environment (IAE) which operates several systems including SAM.gov, FPDS, eSRS, FSRS, CPARS, and FAPIIS.
Will my UEI expire?
No. Although businesses want to update their SAM.gov account annually to avoid inactive registration, UEIs will not expire.
Is there a cost to get an SUI?
No. You can obtain a Unique Entity ID from the federal government for free. You can get an EIU and register your business for government grants, contracts, and federal assistance for free at SAM.gov.
How can I update my business information?
If your business’s legal name or physical address has changed, you can now update it through SAM.gov instead of going to Dun & Bradstreet like before.
Will the government call or email me about MY UEI?
The GSA does not contact organizations directly about the unique entity identifier (SAM). If you receive an unsolicited call or email about an EIU, be careful. Do not provide personal information or information about your business; log in to your SAM.gov account to manage your registration.
Where can I get help with SAM.gov or My UEI?
Get started at SAM.gov where you’ll find UEI transition FAQs. If you still need help, you can search for help on the Federal Service Desk (FSD.gov) or seek assistance from an FSD agent during business hours 8am-8pm ET Monday-Friday.
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