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by Kiara Swiatek May 23, 2022

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Table of Contents

  1. What Exactly is the UEI?
  2. A New System By the Federal Government
  3. What Does the SAM System Do?
  4. What Can Do With SAM?
  5. What is a D-U-N-S Number?
  6. Is Dun & Bradstreet an Official Government Organization?
  7. How Will Federal Agencies Use This New Number Going Forward?
  8. How Do You Get This New Number for Your Entity?
  9. When Did This Transition Begin?


Are you wondering what UEI or SAM is and what this means for you? What did the Federal Government use the D-U-N-S number for, and what will they use now instead? You're not alone.

What Exactly is the UEI?

It stands for Universal Entity Identifier. According to, which explains it the best:

"The Unique Entity Identifier, or the UEI, is the official name of the "new, non-proprietary identifier" that will replace the D-U-N-S® number, according to the General Services Administration..."


A New System By the Federal Government

Historically the federal government used the D-U-N-S number to identify entities and businesses within their internal systems; this helped keep track of companies easily but did have some flaws.

The United States Government has since changed its means of identifying unique entities beginning on April 4, 2022, and new entities going forward will only be assigned a UEI Entity ID. Since April 4, the government has stopped using the D-U-N-S Numbers from Dun & Bradstreet. It incorporates its own identification system called the Unique Entity ID, which comes from

As a result of the switch, the government can streamline the entity identification and validation process, as well as keep these numbers more secure. If an entity does not already have an existing D-U-N-S number, it will not have to obtain one to register on the SAM website from now on. Having a SAM login will, in turn, make doing business with the Federal government much less cumbersome and streamlined.


What Does the SAM System Do?

SAM or better known as the System for Awards Management. offers a single login to navigate the federal award lifecycle. You can visit this federal link that explains the system and awarding process in detail for more information on this. To be eligible for federal awards grants, get business funding, small business financial services, and other government-sponsored items, a business must fill out a SAM form to verify information regarding their business and other legalities. In the past, this is where business entities used the DUNS number. As the U.S. Government states on the SAM information page,

"Those systems are used for registering to do business with the federal government, listing contract opportunities, capturing contractor performance, viewing contract data, searching assistance listings, reporting subcontracts, and more."


What Can Do With SAM?

The Federal information page lists a variety of instances where you can use SAM, including the following:

  • Register to do business with the U.S. Government
  • Update, renew, or check the status of your entity registration.
  • Get a Unique Entity ID
  • Search for entity registration and exclusion records
  • Search for assistance listings (formerly, wage determinations (formerly, and contract opportunities (formerly
  • Run contract data reports (formerly part of
  • View and submit BioPreferred and Service Contract Reports
  • Access publicly available data via data extracts and system accounts


This will allow you to get business funding for your existing business or get a start-up business loan.

What is a D-U-N-S Number?

A D-U-N-S number (better known as a DUNS number) is an identification number used by Dun & Bradstreet, a long-standing corporate analytics company based in New York. The DUNS number is assigned to entities by Dun & Bradstreet and then is used by the federal government for their purposes. This has been how the government has been keeping track of entities for decades up to switching over to SAM.


Is Dun & Bradstreet an Official Government Organization?

The short answer is no; Dun & Bradstreet is not an official government organization. This fact has made the U.S. government realize it makes no sense for them to continue to use the Data Universal Numbering System on government official websites, causing the need for a unique entity identifier.

The idea is that this will allow the federal government to manage government data better and organize information on their secure servers versus having a private company be involved with this sensitive information.

Since the DUNS number is not an official government-sponsored number, it has a greater potential to be less secure for its users and the government as a whole. Of the solutions that were considered by the government, the one chosen and accepted was that they create their number to be used.


How Will Federal Agencies Use This New Number Going Forward?

These numbers will be used the same way the government used the D-U-N-S number. The number will identify entities in their internal systems. This will allow for grants and government contracts to be submitted with less hassle.


How Do You Get This New Number for Your Entity?

To start, you need to visit the website; from there, you will automatically receive a UEI after filling out some information regarding your business. The process is seamless and efficient for most users.


When Did This Transition Begin?

This transition in numbering systems took effect on April 4, 2022. For all entities registering with the federal government going forward, they need to visit the website instead of receiving a number from Dunn & Bradstreet as they might have done in the past.

The Process of Identifying Numbers, Uniqueness, and Fundability with The Federal Government

What does this big switch over mean for your business? Do you, as the business owner, need to take any action? Not really; the process is simple and pretty well automated. Confirm that you and your business are registered with SAMS; your information has been recently updated and is, most importantly, accurate.

Since being a part of the D&B system is still necessary to build business credit score, you'll still want to get a D-U-N-S number directly from Dun & Bradstreet.

For a more up-to-date list of what you need to access business credit funding, be sure to check their website, as there are other factors necessary to be eligible. In addition to obtaining a D-U-N-S number from Dun & Bradstreet, you have to have an EIN from the government. You also need a separate bank account for your entity. When applying for grants, contracts, or other federal workers, it is always best to check the website thoroughly for a list of requirements before your application deadline.

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