This is a knowledge base (wiki) for FWS Financial Assistance Systems relating to the System of Award Management (SAM). The information in this knowledge base is for individuals who have responsibilities related to FWS Financial Assistance programs. This includes agreements officers, program managers, grant specialists, and financial assistance partners and award recipients.

SAM Requirements and Registration

Federal regulations (2 CFR Part 25, Universal Identifier and System of Award Management) require all entities except individuals that apply for or receive financial assistance awards to register and maintain current information in SAM, unless the Service waives the requirement. Entities must remain registered in the SAM database after the initial registration, review and update information on an annual basis from the date of initial registration to ensure it is current, accurate and complete, more frequently when information changes. The SAM registration must be active prior to submitting an application or plan and remain active with current information at all times during which it has an active award or an application or plan under consideration. An award is active until the recipient submits the final financial report required under the award or receives the final payment, whichever is later.

Foreign entities who wish to be paid to a bank account in the United States must enter and maintain valid and current banking information in SAM.

In order to register in SAM, financial assistance applicants/recipients must first have a valid DUNS number assigned by Dun & Bradstreet. If your intended recipient does not have a DUNS number they can request one online at DUNS numbers are free for Federal financial assistance applicants. Applicant and recipient entities are responsible for maintaining up-to-date information with Dun & Bradstreet. To confirm the validity of a DUNS number, go to and use the Search by D&B D-U-N-S Number feature.

The Service may only approve a waiver from the SAM/DUNS registration requirements if one of the following criteria is met:

  1. We must protect information about the entity from disclosure to avoid compromising classified information or national security or jeopardizing the personal safety of the entity’s clients, or
  2. A foreign entity is applying for or receiving an award for less than $25,000, the project will be conducted outside of the United States, and we find it impractical for the entity to comply with the requirement.

To request a SAM/DUNS waiver, see the instructions in 516 FW 5, Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and System for Award Management (SAM) Registration Requirements.

Registration in SAM is free. There are businesses that will help entities register in SAM for a fee. They are not part of the federal registration process and entities don’t have to use them. However, we can't prevent them from engaging in a business transaction.

Expired SAM Registration

An FBMS vendor record cannot be created if the SAM Registration is expired. In addition, FBMS automatically blocks the existing vendor record for recipient's that have an expired SAM registration. New awards cannot be released to blocked vendors. Modifications to awards should not be released to recipients that have an expired SAM even though FBMS does not block the release of modifications.  The Interior Business Center (IBC) will not process (manual) payments to ASAP waived recipients that have an expired SAM registration. For recipients receiving funds through the ASAP system with an expired SAM, programs must place their awards on “Agency Review” status to prevent the release of payments until the recipient updates the SAM registration. See 516 FW 5.

ASAP payments to recipients with expired SAM registrations will fail to clear to cash and create issues for the monthly financial reconciliation. Although individuals are not required to register in SAM, some did enroll in SAM in the past. If the SAM registration for an individual expires, payments to the recipient will be held (manual payments) or not clear to cash (ASAP payments) until the recipient either updates or deletes their registration in SAM.

Verifying SAM Registration

To verify an entity's compliance with SAM registration requirements, employees performing this step must create and maintain an Individual User Account on When applicants register in, they are given the choice to opt out of the public search function. Opting out of the public search function means that their record cannot be seen unless you are a registered Federal user. To see all SAM records, government employees must register for a Individual User Account with their government email address.

Go to and select Create an Account using your government email address. Once an account is created log in, and then search for the entity by the DUNS number provided by the applicant on their SF 424, Application for Federal Assistance form. The search by DUNS must return an Active Entity record for the entity. If an Active Entity record is not found, we must contact the entity to inform them that they must register in SAM or revalidate their expired SAM registration. To determine if the entity must either register or revalidate an existing registration, filter your search results to show both Active and Inactive records (the default search is to show only Active records). Once an Active SAM record is available for the entity, review their registration expiration date. The SAM registration may need to be udpated prior to a new award or modification to an award is released.

When searching for an entity in SAM, you can use the wildlcards (*) or (?) at the beginning or the end of a DUNS or a search term.

SAM and FBMS Vendor Records

Recipients required to register in SAM are not automatically added to FBMS.  A request must be made to bring the information into FBMS from SAM via a transaction interface. This may be requested by submitting a help desk ticket. It is not restricted to any FBMS roles.  SAM registered recipients should never be added or updated in FBMS using the FBMS Vendor and Customer Master Request Form. If information needs to be updated the recipient must update the information in  The updated information will then be automatically reflected in FBMS within a few days.

You must not create or update a vendor in FBMS using the Vendor and Customer Master Request Form.  This will cause an FBMS vendor to be incorrectly created and not linked to the SAM record. All FBMS vendors requiring a SAM registration must be linked to SAM or the award information will fail to transmit to USA Spending. Also, recipient updates in will not be reflected in FBMS.

For recipients required to register and maintain a registration in SAM use the FAS User Guide - How to Look up a Vendor in FBMS for Users with Financial Assistance Roles (accessible by DOI employees only - must use Bison Connect or be connected to the DOI network) to review the FBMS vendor record. The SAM registration and the FBMS vendor record must be linked. To ensure the records are linked review the US Federal Government tab, US Federal Government: Fields and the CCR Details. The SAM information on these tabs must match the information. This must be reviewed prior to releasing a new award or a modification to an existing award.

If a recipient has one or more DUNS-Plus-4 designations and they have multiple CAGE codes associated with their DUNS number the entity will have multiple vendor records in FBMS, FBMS creates a unique vendor number for each DUNS number and CAGE code combination.  If the vendor changes their DUNS number in SAM a new vendor will be created in FBMS.  These are key fields for the vendor record. In these cases, you must contact the recipient to find out which CAGE code should be associated with the award, as this will be important when selecting the correct FBMS vendor record.


For FWS information on SAM, please refer to the topics on the left navigation pane. If you are a recipient and have issues with your SAM registration please see Federal Service Desk Information.

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about the FA Wiki or any of its content, email them to us.


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