SIS II – a more advanced version of the Schengen Information System (SIS) – was launched in April 2013 with enhanced functionalities, such as the possibility to use biometrics, new types of alerts,
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.
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:
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.
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.