WHAT IS THE SCHENGEN INFORMATION SYSTEM?
The Schengen Information System (SIS) is an information database shared by Schengen Area and European Union nations to ensure border security. The European Commission is responsible for its upkeep.
SIS was established in 1990, following the elimination of internal border controls between Schengen nations and the implementation of a uniform visa policy in accordance with the Schengen Convention.
Authorities in many nations, including as police and border control officers, can utilise the Schengen Information System. Individuals or things can be added to the database for security purposes, and this data can subsequently be reviewed by authorities in all other participating nations.
WHAT DOES SIS DO?
The Schengen Information System exists to safeguard Europe. In the lack of internal border checks between Schengen nations, SIS is utilised to help authorities in member states in maintaining security.
It accomplishes this in three ways:
- Border control cooperation: border control authorities can create alerts regarding nationals of non-Schengen countries trying to enter the Schengen Area.
- Law enforcement cooperation: alerts can be created about missing persons and about individuals and objects of interest to a criminal investigation.
- Cooperation on vehicle registration: information on vehicles, number plates, and registration certificates can be shared between different national authorities.
These warnings are disseminated across all participating nations, allowing numerous authorities to identify and/or locate individuals or things of interest and, if required, collaborate.
WHAT IS AN SIS ALERT?
Authorities may utilise the system to search for alerts on certain individuals or items, or they can establish new alerts after an incident to keep track of the people or objects involved.
Alerts can be set up for the following:
- Individuals wanted for arrest
- Non-EU nationals who have been refused entry or stay in any Schengen country
- Missing persons
- Individuals whose assistance is required for judicial proceedings
- Objects to be seized or used as evidence in criminal trials
- Persons and objects for discreet or specific checks, e.g. for prevention of threats to public or national security.
Other forms of notifications, such as preventative warnings for children and vulnerable persons at danger of abduction, are being considered.
When creating an alert, the following information must be entered:
- Subject of the alert (the person and/or object)
- Why the person or object is sought after
- The action that should be taken once the subject is located
WHO CAN USE THE SIS?
The Schengen Information System is now available to the following authorities in member countries:
This list will be expanded to include boat and aircraft registration agencies as part of SIS reform and updating initiatives. FRONTEX will also have access to SIS alerts in operational categories.
Europol now has the authority to submit SIS alerts for third-country nationals under a new agreement. This will enable Europol and member states to share information about non-EU people who may pose a security risk.