SAM Registration - Dealing with Entity Validation Hurdles

Updated: 
June 13, 2023
5
min read
How To

If your organization plans to pursue federal grant funding now or in the future, the first step in that process is to complete your System for Award Management (SAM) registration and obtain a Unique Entity Identification Number (UEI). We’ve found that a number of rural organizations have come across a stumbling block almost immediately in this process. To move forward with registration, you must first validate your “entity” by searching for it in the entity validation system (EVS), and signing off that yes, this is who you are. This is how the federal system knows that you are, in fact, a legitimate organization.

The EVS essentially pulls information from hundreds of official sources (like state records) to verify that your organization exists and is unique. The problem seems to be that many rural organizations are either not showing up at all in the system, are showing up with errors (most frequently address errors), or cannot meet the physical address requirement due to not having a USPS-formatted street address (P.O. Boxes are not accepted). This triggers a validation process that can slow your SAM registration to a crawl! Here are our tips for how to deal with this hurdle:

If you find your organization in the system but something in the listing is incorrect (the name or address for example): 

1. Update/correct your entity details.

2. Confirm your new details

3. Gather documentation to prove your new details are correct. You will need at least two documents to prove your existence. Here’s what we recommend for the quickest turnaround:

  • Your Articles of Incorporation with the State Seal are the gold standard.
  • A bank statement or tax form 990 that is less than 5 years old and showing your correct, current address.
  • Make sure your information matches what you have entered on the screen exactly. For example, if your documentation doesn’t have your suite number on it, but you type in a suite number on your form, that can cause a problem. 
  • Make sure you’re entering the exact legal name of your organization.

4. Submit the documents. If you do not have access to a scanner, you can use a smart phone to create a scanned version using a free app like Adobe Scan. Some libraries also have free scanners available for use. Again, make sure your scanned documents are complete and no information is cut off. For a full list of acceptable documents, download the list here.

5. At this point your incident ticket will be created with the Entity Validation Service and they will begin their review. In our experience, the process generally takes 10 business days if all proper documentation is submitted. 

6. During this time, be patient. DO NOT submit any additional incident tickets, this will only delay the process. DO check your registered email frequently. If the EVS needs further documentation they will message you through your incident ticket, which will generate an email. All correspondence on the validation process must be through the incident ticket, they cannot correspond via phone or chat.

7. Once your entity has been verified, you will receive an email that your entity is validated, and you may then proceed with your SAM registration.

If your organization is not in the system at all:

1. Don’t panic. This is often due to some sort of typo in the official documentation database the EVS is drawing from. 

2. Start an incident report. Follow the instructions on SAM.gov to submit a ticket and documentation.

3. Gather your documentation. You will need documentation that provides:

  • Proof of your organization’s name and physical address.
  • Proof of your organization’s start year and state.
  • We recommend submitting 3 documents to hopefully speed the process:

          -Articles of Incorporation with the Kentucky stamp.

           -A bank statement less than 5 years old.

           -Department of Treasury IRS letter assigning you your EIN.

  • These are not the only documents you can use. You can download a full list of documents here. 

4. Submit your documents by uploading them to your incident ticket. 

  • Make sure your information matches what you have entered on the screen exactly. For example, if your documentation doesn’t have your suite number on it, but you type in a suite number on your form, that can cause a problem. 
  • Make sure you’re entering the exact legal name of your organization.
  • Make sure you scan your documents completely and do not cut off any important information.  If you do not have access to a scanner, you can use a smart phone to create a scanned version using a free app like Adobe Scan. Some libraries also have free scanners available for use.
  • You MUST use a physical address. P.O. Boxes are not accepted. See below if you do not have a USPS-formatted address.

5. At this point your incident ticket has been started and the Entity Validation Service will begin their review. Expect this to take, at minimum, 10 business days, but it can often take longer.

6. During this time, be patient. DO NOT submit any additional incident tickets, this will only delay the process. DO check your registered email frequently. If the EVS needs further documentation they will message you through your incident ticket, which will generate an email. All correspondence on the validation process must be through the incident ticket, they cannot correspond via phone or chat.

7. Once your entity has been verified, you will receive an email that your entity is validated, and you may then proceed with your SAM registration.

Your organization is located in an area that does not have a USPS-formatted street address

1. Don’t panic. You can still validate your physical address and your SAM registration, but it may take more time. 

2. Start an incident report. Follow the instructions on SAM.gov to submit a ticket and documentation.

3. Gather your documentation. You will need documentation that provides:

  • Proof of your organization’s name and physical address.
  • We recommend submitting 2 documents to hopefully speed the process:

          -Articles of Incorporation with the Kentucky stamp.

          -A bank statement less than 5 years old with your address.

  • These are not the only documents you can use. You can download a full list of documents here. 
  • Write a note explaining your challenge meeting the standard validation requirements due to lack of a USPS-formatted street address. 

4. Submit your documents by uploading them to your incident ticket. 

  • Make sure your information matches what you have entered on the screen exactly. For example, if your documentation doesn’t have your suite number on it, but you type in a suite number on your form, that can cause a problem. 
  • Make sure you’re entering the exact legal name of your organization.
  • Make sure you scan your documents completely and do not cut off any important information.  If you do not have access to a scanner, you can use a smart phone to create a scanned version using a free app like Adobe Scan. Some libraries also have free scanners available for use.

5. Your case will be thoroughly reviewed, and further instructions will be provided via email.

6. Once your validation is successful, you WILL be able to provide a mailing address during your registration if you do not want to, or cannot receive mail at your physical address.

These are just our tips on navigating through this challenge based on some common issues that have been reported to us, but the true experts on this process are at the Federal Service Desk. Our last tip is if you run into any issues with the validation process (or any other part of your SAM registration), get in touch with the FSD on their site. In addition to a huge bank of resources, there’s also a live chat feature there.

Other Resources

Validating Your Entity in SAM.gov

GSAFSD Entity Registration - Frequently Asked Questions

Seven Common Reasons Entity Validation Documents Get Rejected

Why don't I see a match for my entity when I try to validate in SAM?

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