DUNS Number Requirement

The federal government adopted a policy that requires institutional applicants to provide a DUNS number as part of their applications as of October 1, 2003.

What is a DUNS number?
DUNS stands for “data universal numbering system.” DUNS numbers are issued by Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) and consist of nine digits. Some institutions will also have what is known as “DUNS + 4,” which is used to identify specific units in that institution.

Why does my institution have to provide it?
OMB has adopted the use of DUNS numbers as a way to keep track of how federal grant money is dispersed. To learn more about the policy, you can read the Federal Registrar notice (4-page PDF).

Do all grant applications have to have a DUNS number?
No. Only institutional applicants are required to provide their DUNS number. Individuals are exempt.

Do institutions in Japan have to obtain a DUNS number?
Yes. All institutions, including institutions abroad, must have a DUNS number. Applicants in Japan are to contact Dun and Bradstreet in Tokyo for a DUNS number:

Dun & Bradstreet Japan Ltd.
Aobadai Hills 11F
4-7-7 Aobadai
Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0042
TEL: 03-5465-2811 (General)
03-5465-2842 (DUNS Number Direct)
FAX: 03-5465-2861 (General)
E-mail: (DUNS Number)

I am a project director. How do I find out my institution’s DUNS number?
You should ask your institution’s grant administrator or chief financial officer to provide your institution’s DUNS number. Research universities and most colleges, independent libraries, and large organizations already have DUNS numbers.

What happens if my institution does not have a DUNS number?
The chief financial officer or authorizing official of your institution will need to register for a DUNS number. The project director should NOT apply for a number.

There are two ways to obtain a DUNS number. Your institution can use the special toll-free number for federal grant applicants: 1-866-705-5711. The process will take about ten minutes and your institution will receive a DUNS number within a few business days. When you call, tell them that you are applying to a federal grant program and need to register for a DUNS number. You will be asked to provide the following information:

  1. name of institution
  2. address
  3. telephone number
  4. name of the head of the institution (CEO, president, director, etc.)
  5. type of institution (university, college, library, museum, historical society, etc.)
  6. total number of employees (full- and part-time)

Your institution can also register for a DUNS number via Dun & Bradstreet’s website at Choose the “DUNS number only” option. Please note that registration via the website may take up to thirty business days to complete.

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.