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Batch File Format Requirements

Use this checklist to ensure that your VETS-4212 report meets the 2020 requirements for electronic submission.

  1. All applicable fields are completed for these records
    • One record for headquarters
    • One record for each hiring location
  2. Only CAPITAL LETTERS are used in alphabetical fields
  3. The file is saved in ASCII comma-separated values (.csv) format
    • Contains plain-text data with each field separated (delimited) from the next by a comma
    • Has a filename with .csv extension (such as: VETS-4212.csv)
      (NOTE: DOL no longer accepts fixed field text (.txt) files)
  4. Is contained within one .csv file
    • Do not create a separate text file for each record
    • Do not submit unneeded files, such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect documents. If you have comments to include with your submission, send a separate printed correspondence (hard copy) on company letterhead.
    • Do not include the description row (as shown, highlighted and BOLD below).
Example of Excel Data Table

#

A

B

C

D

E

1

Company No

Ending Period

Contractor Type

Form Type

MSC Number

2

T123456

08/31/2020

S

MHQ

0

3

T123456

08/31/2020

S

MHL

0

4

T123456

08/31/2020

S

MSC

3

What is an ASCII Comma Separated Values (.csv) File?

An ASCII text file is a small, simple document that can be created by a text editor such as Microsoft Notepad or exported from a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel.
(NOTE: ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) refers to "plain-text" which includes the 128 characters (numbers, upper and lower-case letters, and symbols) that are most likely found on your keyboard.)

Exporting from a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

Follow these steps to export your Excel spreadsheet data (.xls or xlsx) as a text file (.csv)

  1. With your workbook open in Excel, select the "File" menu, and then select "Save As."
  2. In the "Save as type" drop down list, select the "CSV (Comma separated values)(*.csv)." file type.
    Title: Excel Save As Dialog
  3. Enter a name for your file and save it to your hard drive.
  4. Close Microsoft Excel
  5. Open Microsoft Notepad
    (NOTE: For most systems, Notepad can be found under Start Menu ® Programs ® Accessories.)
  6. Within Notepad select the "File" menu, and then select "Open."
  7. Locate the (.csv) file on your hard drive and open it. Once opened, you will see horizontal rows of comma-separated value fields.
  8. Close Notepad if asked to save select "No."

(NOTE: Similar steps are used to export from a non-Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (such as Lotus 1-2-3, or OpenOffice Calc. If you have questions exporting from your non-Excel spreadsheet, you can email vets4212-customersupport@dolncc.dol.gov or call the VETS-4212 Service Center at 1-866-237-0275.)


Record Requirements

Special characters allowed within fields

The only non-alpha-numeric characters allowed are as follows:

  • Company Name – dash ( - ), period ( . ), parenthesis ( () ), ampersand (&), and apostrophe ( ' )
  • Street Address – apostrophe ( ' ), dash ( - ), and period ( . )

Don't use hyphens within fields

Do not use hyphens in the field for the NAICS, DUNS, EIN, or Zipcode.
Example:
203334444   Correct
20-333-4444   Incorrect

Don't Use Commas within Fields

Since commas are used to separate data fields, they cannot be used within fields.
For example, do not separate the street address and suite with a comma.
Example:
6101 STEVENSON SUITE 600 ALEXANDRIA     Correct
6101 STEVENSONS, SUITE 600, ALEXANDRIA   Incorrect

Only one record per line

All records must be horizontal, not vertical, with each entire record on a single line
Example:
T502024,08/17/2020,ACME INC,123 MAIN ST   Correct

No padding is required

For example, if the value in the city field is only 10 characters, do not pad the field with 10 blank spaces to fill the 20-character field size.
Example:
,12,0,8,123,0,0,1,2,0   Correct
,0000012,0000000,0000008,0000123,0  Incorrect
NOTE: The exception for EIN, DUNS, NAICS, and Zip Code. These fields must be 9 digits for both EIN and DUNS, 6 digits for NAICS, and 5 or 9 digits for ZIPCODE. If they don't fit the required length they need to be padded with leading zero(s).

Common layout errors

The most common layout errors are:

  • Wrong number of commas resulting in misallocated data, including an additional comma within the street address.
  • Vertical records
  • Header footer or comments in file.
  • Insufficient data.

Most submissions with these errors are returned for correction.

Required Fields

This table lists the fields required in your electronic submission.

Field No.

Field Name

Type

Size

1

Company Number

Text

7

2

Hiring Location Number

Text

100

3

Hiring Location Name

Text

100

4

Street Address

Text

100

5

City

Text

50

6

State

Text

2

7

Zip code

Text

9

8

DUNS

Text

9

9

NAICS

Text

6

Submitting the Report

Your 2020 hiring locations report may be electronically submitted in one of two ways:

  1. Upload the file from your computer
  2. Submit the form on electronic media
    • When mailing media, identify your disk by including a blank, printed copy of your pre-identified
      • VETS-4212 form
    • Submit on one of three acceptable forms of electronic media:
      • DVD
      • CD

(NOTE: Many federal contractors and subcontractors produce VETS-4212 reports using software specifically developed for HR departments. Many of these vendors have modified their products to publish electronic files in the required format. If your organization uses this type of software, you may want to inquire with your vendor about the product’s ability to produce the VETS-4212 file in the correct format.

If you have questions about electronic submission, please email vets4212-customersupport@dolncc.dol.gov or call the VETS-4212 Service Center at 1-866-237-0275.