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Step 1: Obtain a DUNS Number

Obtaining a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number is the first step in registering as an organization applicant in The instructions below describe DUNS and walk through the process of acquiring a free DUNS number.

Purpose of DUNS

A DUNS number is a unique nine-character number used to identify your organization. The federal government uses the DUNS number to track how federal money is allocated.  

Before Registering for a DUNS Number

Does my organization already have a DUNS number? Most large organizations, libraries, colleges, and research universities already have a DUNS number. You should contact your grant administrator, financial department, chief financial officer, or authorizing official to identify your organization's DUNS number.

How to Register for a DUNS Number

If your organization does not yet have a DUNS number, or no one knows it, visit the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) website Click to View Exit Disclaimer or call 1-866-705-5711 to register or search for a DUNS number.

Registering for a DUNS number is free of charge, so if you encounter any organizations or websites soliciting a fee or charge to acquire a DUNS number it is likely a scam or fraudulent.

You will need all of the information listed below to obtain a DUNS number:

  • Name of organization
  • Organization address
  • Name of the chief executive officer (CEO) or organization owner
  • Legal structure of the organization (e.g., corporation, partnership, proprietorship)
  • Year the organization started
  • Primary type of business
  • Total number of employees (full and part-time)

NOTE: At some point, the DUNS Number will be replaced by a “new, non-proprietary identifier” requested in, and assigned by, the System for Award Management ( This new identifier is being called the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), or the Entity ID. has begun preparing for this transition by educating users about the upcoming changes and updating field labels and references to the DUNS Number (the current identifier) within the system. Users should continue using the DUNS Number in UEI fields until further notice. To learn more about SAM’s rollout of the UEI, please visit

How long does it take to obtain a DUNS number?

Allow up to two business days to obtain a DUNS number, but it can occur in one business day.

Information for Foreign Applicants

If your organization is located outside the United States, you can register for a DUNS number online. To register with D&B, you are not required to obtain a federal Tax Identification Number (TIN), also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). When registering, simply leave the TIN/EIN information blank. However, anyone doing business with the federal government generally needs to obtain a TIN/EIN in order to meet Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax reporting requirements.

More information for foreign applicants is available in the Grant Eligibility section of Learn Grants. For tax and TIN information, visit the IRS website and search for their most recent guidance for Aliens and International Taxpayers. You may also contact the Agency Point of Contact listed for the grant opportunity to get more information on a specific grant opportunity.

Proceed to Step 2: Register with SAM

Help: Online User Guide

Find registration, search, and application instructions for all users in the Online User Guide.


For detailed applicant information, review the Applicants section of the online user guide.

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