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Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number

Last Published: 08/30/2013

The federal government recently adopted a new policy that requires organizations to provide a DUNS number as part of federal grant applications.

Two methods to obtain a DUNS number

Call the special toll-free number for federal grant applicants: 1-866-705-5711. Tell the operator that you are applying to a federal grant program and need to register for a DUNS number. The process will take about ten minutes. You will be asked to provide the following information (subject to minor changes):

  • Legal name of organization,
  • Physical address (and PO box if you have one),
  • Telephone number,
  • Web address,
  • Name of the authorizing official (e.g., president, director, etc.),
  • Purpose of your organization (e.g., non-profit dance company to perform and create work, museum that provides art exhibitions for the general public, etc.),
  • Total number of employees.

Register for a DUNS number via D&B's website at Choose the "DUNS number only" option. Please note that registration via the website may take up to 30 business days to complete.

After receipt of a DUNS number, the next step in the registration process is to perform a Central Contractor Registration.

Questions and Answers

What is a DUNS number?

Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) is a company that provides business information for credit, marketing, and purchasing decisions. D&Bs "Data Universal Numbering System," known as DUNS, issues unique 9-digit numbers that are used by businesses and the federal government to keep track of more than 70 million businesses world-wide. Some entities, such as States and universities, will also have what is known as "DUNS + 4," which is used to identify specific units within a larger entity.

Why does my organization have to provide it?

The federal government's Office of Management & Budget has adopted the use of DUNS numbers as a way to keep track of how federal grant money is awarded and dispersed.

Do all grant applications have to have a DUNS number?

No. Only organizational applicants are required to provide their DUNS number. Individuals are exempt.

How do I find out if my organization already has a DUNS number?

Your executive director, business manager, board treasurer, or accountant is likely to know and be able to provide your organization's DUNS number if you already have one. Universities and most colleges, State entities and large organizations also are likely to already have DUNS numbers. If you aren't sure, ask the D&B operator at the phone number listed above.

Is there a fee for registering for a DUNS number?

No. D&B should not charge you a fee. You are also not obligated to purchase any of their products.

How long does it take to get a DUNS number?

It only takes a day to get a DUNS number from D&B by phone (you may be on hold for a little while). It can take up to 30 days to receive a DUNS number via the Internet

Who should make the request for a DUNS number?

An authorizing official of an organization, not a project director, should request a DUNS number.