Migration and Home Affairs

Identification of applicants (Eurodac)

Identification of applicants: The Eurodac Regulation

Eurodac establishes an EU asylum fingerprint database enabling Member States to compare the fingerprints of asylum applicants in oder to see whether they have previously applied for asylum or entered the EU irregularly via another Member State. This makes it easier for EU countries to determine responsibility for examining an asylum application.

Since it was established in 2003, Eurodac has proved to be a very important tool providing fingerprint comparison evidence to assist with determining the EU countries responsible for examining an asylum application made in the EU.

It sets time limits for fingerprint data to be transmitted, ensuring that the asylum applicant and/or the person apprehended in connection with the illegal crossing of the external border is timely registered in Eurodac.

It also ensures full compatibility with the asylum legislation and complies with data protection requirements.

The Regulation allows EU Member States’ law enforcement authorities and Europol to compare fingerprints linked to criminal investigations with those contained in Eurodac, only for the purpose of the prevention, detection and investigation of serious crimes and terrorism and under strictly controlled circumstances and specific safeguards.

The revised Eurodac proposal

Targeted amendments to the Eurodac Regulation were presented in the form of a recast proposal, which extended the scope of the current Regulation to wider migration purposes. Namely, it allows Member States to also monitor secondary movements of irregular migrants who have not sought asylum and to use that information to help facilitate re-documentation and return procedures. During the negotiations of the proposal, co-legislators further expanded the changes to be introduced in the text. Main changes include:

  • Storage of personal data of the data-subject such as the name(s), age, date of birth, nationality, and identity documents, as well as a facial image. The storage of personal data will allow immigration and asylum authorities to easily identify an individual, without the need to request this information directly from another Member State.
  • Lower age of taking fingerprints - 6 years old. New provisions have also been introduced to ensure that the taking of fingerprints and a facial image from minors, particularly young children, should be carried out in a child-sensitive and child-friendly manner.
  • Storage and comparison of all three categories of data. In addition to the comparison currently carried out by the system, this will allow the immigration authorities in a Member State to ascertain whether an illegally staying third-country national in a Member State  has entered the EU illegally at the external border or has previously been found illegaly staying in another Member State. In the same vein, it will allow a Member State to check whether someone apprehended crossing the external border irregularly was ever illegally staying in another Member State or, for that matter, has previously applied for asylum in the EU.
  • The recording of scanned colour copies of valid identity or travel documents to help speed up return procedures.
  • Facilitated access of law enforcement authorities to Eurodac, avoiding delays and allowing alphanumeric searches. For the access rights given to Europol and national law enforcement authorities to be meaningful and effective, these authorities should have at their disposal means adjusted to the prevention, detection or investigation of terrorist offences or of other serious criminal offences.

Inclusion of resettled persons in the scope of the regulation

The Pact on Migration and Asylum presented in September 2020 aimed at a broadening of the scope of the current Dublin Regulation proposed by the Regulation on Asylum and Migration Management. This makes Eurodac all the more necessary to ensure an efficient management of the necessary information. For this purpose, the new amended proposal for a Eurodac Regulation aims to create a fully-fledged common migration and asylum European database to support EU policies on asylum, resettlement and irregular migration.

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