GSA Gives Final Deadline for Transition from DUNS to Unique Entity ID

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The agency also confirmed that all current SAM registrants should have already been assigned their new identifier.

The Biden administration is moving forward with the transition from a nearly 50-year-old structure used to identify organizations doing business with the government to a new number with a new format, giving procurement officials in and out of government nine months to finish recoding and testing their systems.

The D-U-N-S, created by Dun & Bradstreet in 1962, has been the official entity verification number since it was codified in the Federal Acquisition Regulation in 1998. Since that time, every organization doing business with the government—contractors, grantees, universities, research centers, incubators, charities, etc.—has been issued a D-U-N-S number.

The General Services Administration, which administers the program, opened the contract to new vendors for the first time in 2018 and awarded the new contract in March 2019 to Ernst & Young, which will administer the new ID number, including managing the transition from Dun & Bradstreet.

The transition was originally planned for December 2020. However, after hearing from the community, GSA opted to extend the deadline to April 2022 in order to begin issuing UEI numbers during the transition, enabling agencies to test systems using both numbers ahead of the final cutover.

In February, newly transitioned officials told Nextgov that while GSA was not yet issuing the new Unique Entity ID, or UEI, numbers, the agency intended to move forward with the new contract and structure. That intention was confirmed Wednesday with an official date to finalize the transition from D-U-N-S: April 4, 2022.

While the D-U-N-S identifier is made up of nine numbers, UEI is a 12-digit alphanumeric code. The change in format will require every federal agency and every private organization that does business with the government to recode their systems to process the UEI number.

“This is a pretty unique business problem,” an agency official working through the transition told Nextgov last year. “This is not just large-scale system modernization. This is the most interdependent thing about doing business between the federal government and a non-federal entity—it’s at the heart of it.”

A failure of any single system not properly configured to use the new UEI number could cascade into other systems, precipitating multiple failures, officials said.

A post Wednesday on GSA’s outreach site, Interact, clarified the cutover is now scheduled for April 4, at which time no new D-U-N-S will be issued and the identifier will no longer be used or recognized by GSA systems.

The post also confirmed that all organizations with a D-U-N-S have now also been assigned a UEI and notes identifiers have been integrated into the various data feeds from the Integrated Award Environment, including “in APIs, data extracts, contract data reports and the FPDS Atom Feed.”

Federal contractors and grantees that had previously registered in the System for Award Management, or SAM, have “already been assigned a Unique Entity ID!” the post states, noting users can view their new identifier under the entity registration record.

Entities that have a D-U-N-S but are not registered in SAM—such as sub-awardees—will be able to request a UEI through starting in October of this year.

“In preparation for the full transition to the Unique Entity ID, you should prepare any of your own internal systems to accept the new identifier and to stop using the DUNS number for federal awards processes by April 2022,” GSA told contractors and grantees. “Federal agencies will begin to migrate to the Unique Entity ID between now and April 2022. Pay special attention to instructions they provide regarding the use of the new identifier.”

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