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Is SAM Registration the Same as a DUNS Number?

SAM Registration vs. DUNS Number: Understanding the Difference


The System for Award Management (SAM) and the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number are two essential components in the world of government contracting and federal assistance programs. However, there is often confusion about whether SAM registration and a DUNS number are the same thing. In this blog post, we will clarify the distinction between SAM registration and a DUNS number, their individual purposes, and their significance in the government contracting process.

  1. SAM Registration

The System for Award Management (SAM) is a centralized, official website managed by the U.S. government. SAM serves as the primary registration portal for entities seeking to do business with the federal government. Whether an entity wishes to bid on government contracts, apply for grants, or participate in other federal assistance programs, SAM registration is a mandatory step.

The Purpose of SAM Registration:

SAM registration consolidates and verifies essential information about businesses and organizations, such as their legal business name, physical address, point of contact details, and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. The registration process helps government agencies identify potential contractors and simplifies the procurement process by providing a centralized database of eligible entities.

Key Points about SAM Registration:

  1. DUNS Number

The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a unique, nine-digit identifier assigned to businesses and organizations by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), a global data analytics company. DUNS numbers have been used for decades as a standard business identifier and are widely recognized across various industries.

The Purpose of a DUNS Number:

A DUNS number provides a universal identification code for entities engaged in business transactions. It is used by both government and private sectors to track and identify businesses in their databases, credit reporting, supplier management, and more. In the context of government contracting, a DUNS number serves as a critical piece of information for validating a business’s authenticity and credibility during SAM registration and other procurement processes.

Key Points about DUNS Number:

  • DUNS numbers are assigned by Dun & Bradstreet and are unique to each business location.
  • They are widely used across industries for various business-related purposes, including credit reporting and supplier management.
  • A DUNS number is a prerequisite for SAM registration, but it is not the same as SAM registration itself.


In conclusion, the System for Award Management (SAM) registration and a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number are two distinct components in the government contracting process. While a DUNS number is a unique identifier provided by Dun & Bradstreet, SAM registration is the official process for businesses and organizations to register with the U.S. federal government to participate in government contracts, grants, and assistance programs.

Businesses interested in government contracting must first obtain a DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet and then proceed to complete the SAM registration process. Understanding the difference between these two elements is vital for entities seeking to navigate the government contracting landscape successfully and take advantage of the numerous opportunities offered by the U.S. federal government.

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