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Unique Entity ID (

You MUST register to do business with the U.S. government through System for Award Management (SAM). An active registration is needed to receive a Unique Entity ID (UEI) to create an account in and submit a proposal to NSF. This registration process is free.


This registration process is free and takes only 10-15 minutes to initiate but can take up to one month to complete. Sometimes SAM registrations can take longer if the registration information provided in SAM is incomplete or not accurate.

NOTE: Once your new SAM registration is active, it takes up to two business days for NSF to receive and process your SAM information. New organizations cannot register with NSF until the organization’s active SAM registration information is processed by NSF.

IRS Taxpayer Identification Number

The SAM registration information must be validated with outside parties before the registration can be activated.

When entering the organization’s TIN in SAM, ensure that the organization name matches the taxpayer name associated with your TIN. A mismatch of information can result in significant SAM registration activation delays.

If the registration fails the Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) validation or Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) validation with the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency, the SAM registration could take significantly longer to become active.

Bank account information

When you register, you’ll have to share bank account information of the account where the NSF funds would be deposited.

Financial assistance v. contract authority

To submit proposals to NSF SBIR/STTR, you only need to request “financial assistance” authority and do NOT need “contract” authority (which can be a much longer process to obtain).

** Important note about UEI numbers: The Unique Entity ID Number does not expire. However, SAM registrations must be updated and renewed each year to remain in the “active registration” status. If you do not update or renew your registration, it will be in an “inactive” status, but your entity will still have its same UEI. If a registration is not active, an organization will not be able to submit a proposal. Additionally, if the registration is not revalidated annually, NSF will block any award approval actions.

Subrecipients must obtain a UEI

Any subrecipient(s) named in a proposal is also required to obtain a Unique Entity ID (UEI) and register the organization with NSF. Once these two steps are complete, the subrecipient organization may be added to the proposal with the UEI.

Subrecipient(s) named in the proposal, however, do not need to go through the full UEI registration in Refer to the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) Chapter I.G.2.

Step 1: Subrecipient must obtain a UEI:

A subrecipient without a UEI must go to and select the green Get Started button on the “Register Your Entity or Get a Unique Entity ID” section in the upper right side of the page.

Please note, the information required for obtaining a UEI is minimal (organization’s legal business name and address) and will be processed relatively quickly.

Step 2: Subrecipient(s) must register their organization with NSF:

Once the subrecipient obtains the UEI through, the subrecipient must contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) to register the organization with NSF.

When the subrecipient(s) contacts the NSF Help Desk, inform the technician that this is an SBIR or STTR proposal requiring subrecipient organization registration. (Please do not attempt to register the subrecipient organization with NSF in because the system will generate an error and will not permit the subrecipient registration.)

To expediate the process, subrecipients should provide the following information for each unique subrecipient organization on the proposal:

  • Subrecipient UEI: Required
  • Subrecipient Organization Name: Required
  • Subrecipient Complete Address (Including City, State, and Zip): Required
  • Subrecipient Phone Number: Optional
  • Subrecipient POC: Optional
  • Email of Subrecipient Organization: Optional