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Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) Transition

March 20, 2023



In April 2022 Federal agencies transitioned from use of the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number to the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). Child Nutrition Program Operators are required to have the UEI to receive payments from State agencies who administer the Child Nutrition programs on behalf of the Federal government. This memorandum provides answers to questions related to the transition. 

Why it Matters 

The transition from DUNS number to UEI numbers allows the government to streamline the entity identification and validation process, making it easier and less burdensome for entities to do business with the federal government. Child Nutrition Program operators including institutions, facilities, sponsoring organizations, schools, and sponsors are required to obtain the UEI to receive payments from State agencies. It is important that program operators are informed and brought into compliance in order to receive their federal funding.  

Question and Answer 


1. Is it a regulatory requirement that Program operators obtain the UEI number? 

Yes. Per 2 CFR § 25.300, it is a regulatory requirement that Program operators, as subrecipients, obtain the UEI number and that State agencies ensure they have the UEI. 

2. Are Program operators required to obtain a unique identifier from 

Yes. Program operators will need to obtain a UEI to adhere to regulations. Organizations will go to to request a UEI. They will not be required to complete the full entity registration process. 

3. Can State agencies require Program operators to complete full registration in SAM in order to obtain the UEI? 

Yes. State agencies can require Program operators to complete full SAM registration. However, as the full SAM registration is not a federal requirement, full SAM registration is considered an additional State agency requirement and will need FNS Regional Office approval. 

4. If my organization is already registered in, what do we need to do to receive a UEI? 

UEIs will automatically be assigned to existing entities in the SAM and made available for viewing in the SAM. 

5. How will we be able to look up the UEIs of other organizations for reporting of subcontractor related information? 

State agencies and Program operators will be able to search the website for entities and their UEI, similar to how entities can be searched for today in SAM. 

6. Will searches for exclusions by DUNS number still be possible? 

No, all DUNS Numbers will be removed from on April 4, 2022. You will need to use the Unique Entity ID (SAM) to search entity registrations, exclusions, and contract opportunity awards by entity identifier. You may always search using other unique fields such as entity name or CAGE instead of the Unique Entity ID (SAM). 

7. Do you have to be active in to get a UEI assigned? 

No, UEIs will be assigned to both existing entity registrations (active and inactive) and new registering entities. 

8. I am a State agency and cannot view information on an entity. What should I do? 

First make sure that the entity you are searching for has not opted out of public search. If the entity has, its records will only be viewable by federal users and users with a role in that entity. You may also search for an entity using available filters using these steps. Select the arrow icon to the right of “Filter By” and find the “Entity” filter. Select the arrow next to “Entity” and filter by one of three ways:

a. Entity name

b. Unique Entity ID

c. CAGE/NCAGE code

9. Can State agencies make payments to Program operators if Program operators do not have the UEI?

USDA/FNS acknowledges the long-standing relationship State agencies have with their Local Child Nutrition Program Operators and understands the negative impact stopping program payments would have on the programs and children they serve. However, FNS expects that State agencies would be actively working with their Program operators to bring them into compliance. These efforts should be documented by the State.  

There have been many reported instances from the State agencies to the FNS Regional Offices, that program operators are attempting to obtain the required UEI but have been unsuccessful due to no fault of their own. If FNS were presented with a situation where a State agency continued to make program reimbursement payments to a Program operator who is actively attempting to come into compliance in obtaining their UEI and can provide the State agency with supporting documentation as such, FNS would expect that no action be taken against neither the State agency nor the Program operator. In instances where the Program operator is uncooperative, unresponsive, and/or is unable to provide the State agency with documentation to support their efforts in obtaining the UEI, it may become appropriate for the State agency to suspend program payments until a time when compliance is gained. In such situations, the State should confer with their Regional Office prior to suspending payment. 



Read the full Guidance on Unique Entity Identifier Transition (CACFP 06-2023; SFSP 04-2023).