FAQs About the New Unique Entity ID in SAM.gov
Resources and Insight | 4 Min Read
Whether you’re a new or a seasoned government contractor, there are always changes you need to keep up with. One of the newest updates in the world of GSA is the transition from the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number to a new Unique Entity Identifier in the System for Award Management, or SAM. When GSA announced this transition a few months ago, contractors started asking several questions about the process such as: When will the transition be complete? How do I get a Unique Entity ID? Do I still need a DUNS number? In this blog, we compiled a list of FAQs surrounding the new Unique Entity ID and what it will look like for contractors before and after the transition is completed on April 4, 2022.
What is the New Unique Entity ID in SAM.gov?
The new Unique Entity ID in SAM.gov will become the authoritative identifier used by the federal government. In order to do business with the government, every contractor needs to register their company and receive an entity identifier. Think of it like a social security number for your business. Historically, this has been the DUNS number. The way the system is now, contractors go to the Dun and Bradstreet website to get their 9-digit identifier and then they go to SAM.gov to register their business.
Unlike the DUNS number which is owned and managed by a third party, the Unique Entity ID will be controlled by the federal government in the System for Award Management (SAM). The new Unique Entity will be a 12 character alphanumeric code that contractors will receive when they register their business in SAM.gov (or if they are already registered). So, when a company wants to do business with the government, they will go to SAM.gov for both the Unique Entity Identifier ID and registration, eliminating the need for a third party.
Why is the Government Switching from DUNS to a Unique Entity ID?
The transition from DUNS Number to a new Unique Entity ID is a governmentwide decision to streamline the entity registration process and make it easier to do business with the government. Companies will no longer need to go to two different sites to register, everything can be done on SAM.gov. When companies go to register, they will automatically be assigned a Unique Entity Identifier ID and will not have to wait for third party approval before they can move on.
When is the Transition from DUNS to the new Unique Entity ID?
The DUNS number will be retired, and the Unique Entity ID in SAM will go into effect on April 4, 2022. After this date, you will be using your Unique Entity ID across all the Integrated Award Environment (IAE) systems including SAM.gov, CPARS, and eSRS. Your DUNS number will no longer be in use, and if you register a new entity in SAM, you’ll automatically be assigned a Unique Entity ID.
How Are Government Agencies Implementing the Unique Entity ID?
Each federal agency is in charge of managing their own procurement and grant award processing systems, and their invoicing and payments as long as it’s completed by April 4, 2022. GSA suggests you reach out to the agencies you are working with directly and ask how they plan to switch over their payments and invoices for your own records.
I’m Already Registered in SAM.gov—How Do I Get a Unique Entity ID?
If you’re already registered in SAM, you have already been assigned a Unique Entity ID. You can find it on your entity registration record.
I’m Planning on Registering My Entity in the Future—Do I Still Need a DUNS Number?
If you plan on registering your entity before April 4, 2022, you will still need to go to Dun and Bradstreet to get a DUNS number and then head over to SAM.gov to register. When you register on SAM, you’ll receive a Unique Entity ID as well.
If you register on or after April 4, 2022, you will go straight to SAM.gov to register and you will NOT need a DUNS number.
I Use SAM.gov to Search for Award Data and Entity Information—Do I Use the DUNS Number or Unique Entity ID?
Right now, you can use both the DUNS number and new Unique Entity ID to search in SAM.gov. After April 4, 2022, you will only be able to use the new Unique Entity ID.
Can I Get a Unique Entity ID without Registering in SAM.gov?
If you are a sub-awardee and you are not registered in SAM.gov but use a DUNS number for sub-award reporting, you can request a Unique Entity ID in SAM. For now, you can continue to use your DUNS number for reporting but will need to switch over by April 4, 2022.
Keeping Up with Changes in the Federal Government
GSA contractors have dealt with several changes in the past year from Solicitation Refreshes to the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Consolidation, to the vaccine mandate for federal contractors. Even if you have been a contractor for years and you know the drill, it can be exhausting to keep up. If you want to stay up to date on the latest government contracting news and insights, check out our blog, our resources section, or sign-up for our monthly newsletter. If you have any questions about your GSA Schedule and want to speak with someone, one of our consultants would be happy to help you.
About Stephanie Hagan
Stephanie Hagan is the Content Writer and Digital Editor for Winvale where she helps the marketing department continue to develop and distribute GSA and government contracting content. Stephanie grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and earned her Bachelor's of Arts in Journalism and Rhetoric/Communications from the University of Richmond.