Quick Start Guide for Applicants


About this Guide

Please use this guide to help you register and apply for grants using Grants.gov. You may also visit:

  • Search Grants to find other grant opportunities.
  • Learn Grants for an introduction to federal grants, including how to determine your organization's eligibility.

Allow enough time to complete these steps before you start your grant application:

  • Your organization must register with SAM.gov.
  • You must have a Login.gov account.

SAM.gov will provide a unique entity identifier (UEI) for your organization, which is required to apply for grants using Grants.gov.

Use the same email address here and at SAM.gov

Use the same email address to register your organization's electronic business point of contact at SAM.gov as the one you use to register at Grants.gov. As a result, you will be designated as a superuser for your organization in Grants.gov.

Obtaining your UEI may take several weeks. Full registration at SAM.gov can take longer, so you should start well before your grant's deadline. Each Grants.gov user who wants to download forms or work on them online must also have an account with Login.gov. When you register at Grants.gov, you will be prompted to link your Grants.gov account to your Login.gov account.

During this process, you will enter some basic information, validate your email address, and create a profile, either for your organization or for yourself.

Everyone must create a profile

Every person who uses Grants.gov to apply for a grant must have a profile, whether they download forms to fill them out or they use your grant application's workspace to fill out the forms online.

  1. On the Grants.gov home page, click Register.

    The system will display the Register page, containing valuable information.

  2. At the bottom of the Register page, click the Get Registered Now button.

    The system will display the registration form.

  3. Enter your information in the form and click Continue.

    The system will display the confirmation page.

  4. Click the Send Temporary Code button.

    Check your email for a message from Grants.gov containing your temporary code number.

  5. Enter the number in the Temporary Code box and click Continue.

    This will create your Grants.gov account. You must also create an Organization Applicant Profile to apply using Grants.gov.

  6. Select Add Organizational Profile.

    The system will display several text boxes.

    • Enter the unique entity identifier (UEI) you obtained from SAM.gov.
    • Enter a name for this profile. This can be the name of the organization or any other name that you will use to refer to the profile.
    • Enter the job title for the person who will be using this profile. This may be helpful to other users.
  7. Click Save and Login.

    The system will display the Login page.

Grants.gov allows you to assign roles and privileges to users in your organization. These roles allow users to perform certain tasks and see sensitive content, such as a budget, in your grant application. If your Grants.gov account has the same email address as the electronic business point of contact in SAM.gov, Grants.gov will automatically assign you the role of expanded AOR. With the expanded AOR role, you will be able to assign roles to your organization's registered users.

Make sure that at least one person in your organization has a role that allows them to create a workspace for your grant application, such as expanded AOR (authorized organization representative), standard AOR, and workspace manager. For more information about assigning roles, visit Manage Roles for Applicant in the Grants.gov Online Help.

Workspaces provide flexibility for submitting application forms in a way that fits your organization. Workspaces allow you to control access to all or some of your draft application forms. Anyone who has an expanded AOR (authorized organization representative), standard AOR, or workspace manager profile can create a workspace for your organization's grant application.
There are three approaches to using a workspace. Grants.gov provides step-by-step guides (with training videos) for each approach:

Basic: In this approach, you can fill out grant application forms online, or you can download the forms as PDFs and work on them offline. You can also email downloaded forms to others. Afterwards, you will upload completed forms to your workspace. Our Step-by-Step: Basic Approach guide will get you up and running fast. You can always move to the intermediate and advanced approaches later, if the need arises.

Intermediate: In this approach, access to the workspace and to individual online or offline forms is controlled by a workspace owner. Use the Step-by-Step: Intermediate Approach guide if your organization is more complex, for example, if the person responsible for leading the grant application effort is not the person who will be clicking the Sign and Submit button when the application is completed.

Advanced: In this approach, the workspace owner provides access to the grant application forms to team members who may not have your UEI (required to create an organization applicant profile). The Step-by-Step: Advanced Approach guide includes videos and help links about limiting access to budget forms, creating subforms, and reusing previously completed grant application forms.

You must create a different workspace for each grant application.

  1. Select the grant opportunity you want to apply for.

    Click Search Grants and enter your search criteria, or enter an opportunity number from a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The system will display a list of search results.

  2. Click an opportunity number.

    The system will display the View Grant Opportunity page.

  3. Click the Apply button.

    The system will display the Apply Now Using Workspace page.

  4. Enter a name for your grant application.

    If you have created more than one profile, you must select a profile from the Profile list. If you do not have workspace ownership privileges assigned to you, you must select a workspace owner from the displayed list.

  5. Click the the Create Workspace button.

    The system will display the Manage Workspace page. You can now add participants to your new workspace.

You can add people to your grant application's workspace to help with your grant application.

  1. On the Manage Workspace page, click the Participants tab.

    The system will display the Participants tab.

    • Select Add from Workspace Organization to include users who have an Organization Applicant Profile for your organization. Click on the name of each person you want to assign to your grant application.
    • Click Add by Username to include registered users who did not add an organization applicant profile. You can search for each person by name or email address.
  2. Click the Save button.

There are three ways to complete your forms:

  • Complete the forms online within your workspace, using your web browser.
  • Download individual forms, complete the forms offline, then upload them to your workspace.
  • Reuse previously completed forms from a previous grant application.

Completing Forms Online

  1. On the Forms tab, click the form's Webform link.

    When the form appears in your browser window, you can start work on it. Navigate the form using the Sections menu in the side panel. Asterisks mark required information.
    The system will automatically save your work every five minutes. To ensure that nothing is lost, click the Save button periodically to post your changes to your workspace.

  2. To check for errors, click the Check for Errors button.

    If there are any issues, a list of errors will be displayed. Resolve any errors before clicking the Check for Errors button again.

  3. Click the Close button.

    You will be prompted to indicate whether you want to lock the form. Locked forms cannot be accessed by anyone else.

Completing Forms Offline

If you want to download the forms and complete them on your computer, you must have the free Adobe Reader application installed.

For more information, visit the Adobe Acrobat Reader Software Tip Sheet.

  1. On the Forms tab, click the form's Download link.

  2. You will be asked if you want to lock the form. Select Yes to lock the form.

    This will prevent changes to the online version of the form while you are working offline.

  3. Save the form to any location on your computer.

  4. Complete the downloaded form.

    Asterisks mark required information.

  5. Click the Check for Errors button.

    If there are any errors in the form, a pop-up window will be displayed listing them. Any errors will be highlighted in red on the form. Resolve any errors and save your work before clicking the Check for Errors button again.

  6. Click the Upload link in your grant application workspace.

    You will be prompted to locate the form on your computer. Then, after the form is uploaded, you will be asked if you want to unlock the form. If you select Yes, others will be able to make changes to the form.

Naming Files for Upload

Before you name files for upload in Grants.gov or attach files to a form, review the NOFO to see if the awarding agency has specific file naming instructions or restrictions on file names. If the awarding agency does not provide specific file naming instructions, be as descriptive as you can.
In addition, you must:

  • Limit each file name to 50 characters or fewer.
  • Give a unique name to each document.

You can use upper- and lowercase letters, any number, as well as the underscore, hyphen, space, and period in the filename. For more information about the known limitations of grantor systems, see Special Characters in Submissions.

Reusing Previously Completed Forms

You can reuse any form that was previously completed in, or uploaded to, a Grants.gov workspace.

  1. On the Forms tab, click the form's Reuse link.

    You will see a popup window warning you that reusing a form will overwrite any previously uploaded version, along with any related subforms. If you are sure you want to reuse the form, click Yes.

  2. On the Reuse Workspace Form page, enter your search criteria and click Search.

  3. Click the Preview link in the Actions column.

    Make sure the form contains the information you want to use with your new application.

  4. Click the Select link in the Actions column.

    The system will display the Forms tab in Manage Workspace, along with a message indicating success.

Before you submit your application, make sure you have completed all required forms. It is best to submit your application well before the deadline, just in case a submission error occurs.

  1. On the Forms tab, click the Check Application button.

    If there are any issues, a list of errors will be displayed. Resolve any errors before clicking the Check Application button again.
  2. Click the Complete and Notify AOR button, if it is available.

    This button will be available only if you do not have an AOR role. When you click it, all users in your organization with an AOR role (or a custom role with one of the Submit Applications privileges) will receive an email telling them that the application is ready to submit.

  3. Click the Sign and Submit button, if it is available.

    This button will be available only if you have a standard or expanded AOR role, or if you have been assigned a custom role with of the one of the Submit Applications privileges. If you have one of these roles, the Sign and Submit button will be available when:

    • The forms you select for submission have passed the check application process.
    • Your organization's SAM.gov registration is active. (The Manage Workspace page header displays your registration's expiration date.)
    • The grant application deadline has not passed.
  4. If you are resubmitting a grant application.

    If you already submitted a grant application for this opportunity, you will be asked if you want this submission to replace it. Select Yes. If you submitted your grant application from the same workspace, the previous grant tracking number will be preserved.
    A confirmation window will be displayed with information about tracking your grant application.

To see whether your application has been received by the awarding agency, you can go to Check Application Status. You will be notified by the awarding agency after they complete their own process.

Grants.gov provides 24/7 support. Call 1-800-518-4726 or email support@grants.gov. You will be assigned a ticket number, which we'll need to locate your issue later.

You can also find training and videos at Training Resources and Videos for Grants.gov.

For help with SAM.gov, call 866-606-8220. You can also chat with the Federal Service Desk.