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Identification of applicants (EURODAC)

EURODAC makes it easier for EU States to determine responsibility for examining an asylum application by comparing fingerprint datasets.

What is EURODAC?

The EURODAC Regulation establishes an EU asylum fingerprint database. (The previous version of the Regulation is still valid until 20 July 2015 when the new one becomes applicable). When someone applies for asylum, no matter where they are in the EU, their fingerprints are transmitted to the EURODAC central system. EURODAC has been operating since 2003 and has proved a very successful IT tool.

Some updates were however required, in particular to reduce the delay of transmission by some Member States, to address data protection concerns and to help combat terrorism and serious crime.

Key achievements

The new Regulation improves the regular functioning of EURODAC.

  • It sets new time limits for fingerprint data to be transmitted, reducing the time which elapses between the taking and sending of fingerprints to the Central Unit of EURODAC.
  • It also ensures full compatibility with the latest asylum legislation and better addresses data protection requirements.
  • Until now, the EURODAC database could only be used for asylum purposes. The new Regulation now allows national police forces and Europol to compare fingerprints linked to criminal investigations with those contained in EURODAC. This will take place under strictly controlled circumstances and only for the purpose of the prevention, detection and investigation of serious crimes and terrorism.
    • Specific safeguards include a requirement to check all available criminal records databases first and limiting searches only to the most serious crimes, such as murder and terrorism.
    • In addition, prior to making a EURODAC check, law enforcement authorities must undertake a comparison of fingerprints against the Visa Information System (where permitted).
    • Law enforcement checks may not be made in a systematic way, but only as a last resort when all the conditions for access are fulfilled.
    • No data received from EURODAC may be shared with third countries.

Additional tools

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