Upgraded Schengen Information System Went Live
23 March 2023 (updated 3 months, 1 week ago) // Published in printed Issue 1/2023 pp 11 – 12
2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg Thomas Wahl

On 7 March 2023, the renewed Schengen Information System (SIS) was launched and became fully operational. Law enforcement authorities in 30 European countries are now able to enter and see new categories of alerts and share more data. The legal bases for the upgraded SIS was already laid in 2018 (→ eucrim 4/2018, 192-193), but it took until now to put the legal provisions into operation (“SIS 3.0“). The main new features of the SIS include:

  • In addition to photographs and fingerprints, the SIS will contain new types of biometrics, e.g., palm prints, fingermarks and palmmarks, as well as DNA records (but only in relation to missing persons), so that persons sought can be more easily located and identified;
  • New inquiry check alerts will allow to collect targeted information on suspects of serious crime or terrorism. There will be alerts on “unknown wanted persons” containing only the prints of unknown perpetrators that are discovered at the scenes of terrorist offences or serious crime;
  • In addition to existing alerts on missing persons, national authorities will be able to issue preventive alerts in the system to protect people in need (children at risk of abduction or potential victims of terrorism, trafficking in human beings, gender-based violence, or armed conflict/hostilities);
  • With a view to better prevent and deter irregular migration, a new alert on return decisions allows national authorities to verify if third-country nationals have the legal right to stay in the EU. SIS will also contain data on falsified documents, including travel documents and visa stickers;
  • Access rights are expanded, i.e. Europol and national immigration authorities now have access to all alert categories in SIS.

The SIS is the most widely used security database in Europe. It contains more than 90 million data sets. An alert entered in SIS by one country becomes available in real time in all other countries that use SIS, so that competent authorities across the EU can find the alert.