Required Transition from DUNS Numbers to UEI

By Lee Baird, Director of Literary Arts & Grants Analyst –

The federal government is transitioning from the use of Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) numbers to a new Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) through the system as the primary identifier. This new SAM UEI is required of state, regional, and local agencies, along with nonprofit organizations that receive federal funding. The new SAM UEI is also required of subgrantees of state, regional, and local agencies. This switch will occur on April 4, 2022.

Let’s take a look at some popular questions and answers about this new requirement.


Is this like the DUNS number we already use?

Yes, it is the same idea. The UEI will replace the DUNS number and will be used the same way.

Ok, what do I need to do?

Basically, you need two things to get started. A DUNS number, which as a grantee of TN ARTS, you should already have, and you need to be registered in the website. SAM stands for System of Award Management, by the way. If you have ever received funds from the federal government, you likely already have an account there. If you do, SAM will have already converted your DUNS into a UEI, and you can see the number there.

However, most of you will need to get registered in SAM here.

Do we still need a UEI if we don’t ever intend to apply for federal funds?

Yes, as a potential subgrantee receiving federal funds through TN ARTS’ Partnership agreement or other awards from the NEA, you must obtain a SAM UEI. The only exception is TN public schools that only receive Student Ticket Subsidy grants through TN Arts do not need to obtain a UEI. We encourage you to obtain your UEI before April 4, 2022. Coming Soon, you will be asked to add this information to your organization’s profile in our online grant system!

Is there some sort of tool that could guide us through the process?

I’m so glad you asked. Here is the Quick Start Guide for Getting a Unique Entity ID.

Ok, are there any tips you would like to offer?

Sure thing. First, have all your organization’s information handy. If your physical address or other information you enter does not exactly match what is in DUNS now, you may not be able to register. Also, there is a check box at the end of the registration process that is auto-selected to allow public viewing in SAM. If you deselect this box, only you and federal government employees will be able to see your UEI. Don’t do this. We need to be able to verify your information in the system.

Lastly, if you have any trouble, reach out to us. We are always happy to help.