An alert entered into SIS by one country will be available in real time in all other countries that use SIS, so that the alert can be found by competent authorities across the EU.
Technically, SIS consists of the following components:
- central system,
- national SIS systems in all countries that use SIS,
- network between systems.
Each country using SIS is responsible for establishing, operating and maintaining its national system and structures. The European Commission is responsible for general supervision, evaluation of the system and adoption of implementing and delegated acts on the functioning of SIS and SIRENE. Agency of the European Union for operational management of extensive information systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) is responsible for the operational management of the central system and the network.
Countries using SIS
SIS is operated in most EU countries and countries associated with the Schengen area (Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland).
Renewed SIS functions from 2023
New categories of alerts and other data are shared through SIS, providing more complete and reliable information for authorities in countries that use SIS.
From March 2023, the SIS contains the following types of biometric data for the purpose of confirming and verifying the identity of persons registered in the system:
- palm prints,
- traces of palm prints,
- DNA records (missing persons only).
Fingerprints, palm prints, fingerprint traces and palm print traces are used for biometric searches through automated fingerprint identification system in SIS.
SIS does not yet use photo and facial recognition technology. The Commission must provide a report on the availability, readiness and reliability of such technology before its possible introduction. The Commission will consult with the European Parliament regarding the report. When this technology is implemented in SIS, countries will be able to use these tools at regular border crossings. The Commission may then adopt delegated acts specifying further circumstances in which photographs and facial images may be used to identify persons.
The fight against terrorism
More information is shared about people and things involved in terrorist-related activities, enabling national authorities to better prosecute and prevent serious crime and terrorism.
From March 2021, the countries exchange "agreements" in entries in SIS related to criminal acts of terrorism with Europol. Through the SIRENE units, Europol exchanges with countries additional information on entries in the SIS related to criminal acts of terrorism.
Competent authorities may issue records of missing persons, which contain additional data. They can also enter preventive entries into the system in order to protect certain categories of vulnerable persons (children at risk of abduction or potential victims of terrorism, human trafficking, gender-based violence or armed conflicts/hostile acts).
Return decisions they are part of the information exchanged in the system in order to improve the effective enforcement of these decisions. Countries must insert entries for the purpose of denying entry or stay on persons found to be in the EU illegally and subject to entry bans issued in accordance with the Return Directive.
Cooperation between registration authorities has been extended to the registration of ships, aircraft and firearms
National services responsible for registration of ships, aircraft and firearms they can use SIS to check the legal status of items submitted to them for registration.
- Ship registration services only have access to entries in the SIS about ships and marine engines.
- Aircraft registration services only have access to aircraft and aircraft engine records.
- Firearms Registration Services can only access seizure records for surrender or extradition purposes, records for discrete, investigative or specific checks, and firearms records for seizure or evidence.
Better access for EU agencies
Europol has access to all categories of entries in the SIS and exchanges additional information with countries on entries in connection with criminal offenses within its jurisdiction. Access to SIS by European Border and Coast Guard Agency operational teams is being introduced.
More updates are planned
On July 6, 2022, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a new regulation allowing Europol to propose that EU countries, based on information from third countries, enter alerts on suspected terrorists and criminals into the SIS. This regulation entered into force on August 1, 2022. The rollout of this new feature is ongoing.
Entries in SIS and individual rights
Registration in SIS it contains information about a specific person or thing together with instructions for the competent authorities stating how to proceed in the event that the person or thing has been found.
Specialized national SIRENE units located in each country serve as single contact points for exchanging additional information and coordinating activities related to SIS entries.
All data subjects have the right to:
- gain access to data relating to them,
- correct inaccurate data or delete data illegally stored in the system.
Everyone who is the subject of registrations for the purpose of return or registrations for the purpose of refusal of entry and stay has the right to be informed about the registration.
All data subjects have the right to initiate proceedings before the courts or competent authorities to access, correct or delete the data, or to obtain compensation for damages suffered as a result of a breach of data protection law in any country that uses SIS.
- Regulation (EU) 2018/1860 on the use of the Schengen Information System for the purpose of returning illegally staying third-country nationals
- Regulation (EU) 2018/1861 on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of border controls
- Regulation (EU) 2018/1862 on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters