SIS only contains alerts on persons or objects falling under one of the following alert categories:
An SIS alert always consists of three parts:
The quality, accuracy and completeness of the data elements enabling identification are the key conditions for the success of SIS. For alerts on persons the minimum data set is name, year of birth, a reference to the decision giving rise to the alert and the action to be taken. When available, photographs and fingerprints must be added in order to facilitate identification and to avoid misidentification. The system also offers the possibility to add links between alerts (e.g.: between an alert on a person and a vehicle).
Furthermore, the use of biometric data (i.e. fingerprints) is gradually becoming a reality. Since 2013, SIS can store fingerprints which may be used to confirm the identity of a person (a “one-to-one” search) located by other means (alphanumeric search). However, the introduction of an AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) since March 2018 also allows identifying persons just on the basis of his/her fingerprints (a “one-to-many” search). Thanks to the AFIS, criminals and other persons of interest will find it even more difficult to enter and move within the EU using counterfeited, forged or other persons’ documents (imposters).
SIS consists of three major components: a central system, the national systems and a communication infrastructure (network) between the systems. An alert entered in SIS in one Member State is transferred in real time to the central system. It then becomes available in all the other Member States so that authorised users can search the alert on the basis of the entered data-elements.
Each Member State using SIS is responsible for setting up, operating and maintaining its national system and its national SIRENE Bureau. The EU Agency for large-scale IT systems (eu-LISA) is responsible for the operational management of the central system and the communication infrastructure. The European Commission is responsible for the general supervision and evaluation of the system and for the adoption of implementing measures where uniform conditions for implementation are needed, such as the rules for entering and searching data.