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UEI Numbers, Explained

UEI Number, Explained

Q: How do I get a UEI number?

Thank you to one of our customers for this great question! A Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) is a 12-character, alpha-numeric code assigned by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to individual businesses applying for grant money or government assistance. If you plan to bid on a government contract or seek federal assistance, here’s what you need to know about getting a UEI number for your business:

Where can I get a UEI number?

You can register for a UEI number through the GSA’s online portal, System for Award Management (SAM). The registration process will take you through a slew of questions related to your business. You may want to consult SAM’s Entity Registration Checklist to make sure you have all pertinent information on-hand before you start. When you register your business entity through SAM, you will automatically be issued a UEI code.

Can I get a UEI without registering my business with SAM?

Yesbut this only applies to business entities that receive government financing indirectly, like sub-contractors. These businesses do not need to register via SAMthey can simply use the online system to obtain an UEI. To do this, head to the homepage, click “Get Started,” then click “Get Started” AGAIN. This should take you to a page with two options: “Register Entity” and “Get Unique Entity ID (SAM).” Choose the second option.

To watch a demonstration of how to apply for a UEI number—with or without registering with SAM—check out this video: Get a Unique Entity ID.

Why would I register my entity if I can get a UEI without registration?

Registering your business entity with SAM is required if you intend to apply for government contracts or federal assistance as the primary recipient.

What does it cost to get a UEI number?

Getting a UEI number is completely free.

Is a UEI number the same as a DUNS number?

No, although both numbers serve similar functions. As of April 4, 2022, UEI numbers have replaced DUNS numbers as the preferred method for identifying entities receiving government funds. So businesses that have used DUNS numbers in the past are now required to obtain a UEI.

Why did GSA switch from DUNS to UEI numbers?

In a word: simplicity. The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) was developed by a data analytics company called Dun and Bradstreet (D&B). The SAM system was developed by the federal government, which means GSA can now issue unique identifying codes directly, without going through a third-party provider.

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