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Schengen Information System

What is the Schengen Information System?

The Schengen Information System (SIS) is a highly efficient large-scale information system that supports external border control and law enforcement cooperation in the Schengen States. The SIS enables competent authorities, such as police and border guards, to enter and consult alerts on certain categories of wanted or missing persons and objects. An SIS alert not only contains information about a particular person or object but also clear instructions on what to do when the person or object has been found. Specialised national SIRENE Bureaux serve as single points of contact for any supplementary information exchange and coordination of activities related to SIS alerts.

What is the purpose of the SIS?

The main purpose of the SIS is to help preserving internal security in the Schengen States in the absence of internal border checks. The scope of the SIS is defined in three legal instruments:

  1. Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006 (Border control cooperation)
    The SIS enables border guards and visa issuing and migration authorities to enter and consult alerts on third-country nationals for the purpose of refusing their entry into or stay in the Schengen Area.
  2. Council Decision 2007/533/JHA (Law enforcement cooperation)
    The SIS supports police and judicial cooperation by allowing competent authorities to create and consult alerts on missing persons and on persons or objects related to criminal offences.
  3. Regulation (EC) No 1986/2006 (Cooperation on vehicle registration)
    Vehicle registration services may consult the SIS in order to check the legal status of the vehicles presented to them for registration. They only have access to SIS alerts on vehicles, registration certificates and number plates.

In which states is the SIS in operation?

The SIS is in operation in all EU Member States and Associated Countries that are part of the Schengen Area. Special conditions exist for EU Member States that are not part of the Schengen Area.

  1. EU Member States that are part of the Schengen Area
    The Schengen Area encompasses most EU Member States, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom. The 22 EU Member States that are part of the Schengen Area fully operate the SIS.
  2. Associated Countries that are part of the Schengen Area
    Four Associated Countries that are part of the Schengen Area (Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) fully operate the SIS.
  3. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and United Kingdom

Bulgaria and Romania currently only operate the SIS only for the purpose of law enforcement cooperation. They will start using the SIS for the purpose of external border control as soon as the decision for lifting the internal border checks has entered into effect.

Cyprus and Croatia are enjoying a temporary derogation from joining the Schengen Area. They are currently carrying out preparatory activities to integrate into the SIS.

The United Kingdom operates the SIS within the context of law enforcement cooperation. Ireland is carrying out preparatory activities to integrate into the SIS for the purpose of law enforcement cooperation.

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Related legislation
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