Schengen Information System (SIS)

The SIS is the most widely used and largest information sharing system for security and border management in Europe that allows the competent authorities of participating Member States to enter and consult alerts on persons or objects.

A second technical version of the system, the SIS II went live on 9th April 2013. The SIS II is composed of a central system ("Central SIS II"), a national system (the "N.SIS II") in each Member State (the national data systems that will communicate data with the Central SIS II), and a communication infrastructure between the central system and the national systems providing an encrypted virtual network dedicated to SIS II data and the exchange of data, including supplementary information between the authorities responsible for similar data exchanges (SIRENE Bureaux).
 
The system establishes communication amongst all Member States and provides end-users with access to information in accordance with the applicable legal framework. It is a vital factor in the smooth running of the area of security, freedom and justice. It contributes to the implementation of the provisions on the free movement of persons and to judicial cooperation in criminal matters and police cooperation.
 
Legal Basis
 
The system assists the competent authorities in Europe to preserve internal security in the absence of internal border checks. The scope of SIS is defined in three legal instruments:
 
     Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006 (Border control cooperation): SIS enables border guards and visa issuing and migration authorities to enter and consult alerts on third-country nationals for the purpose of refusing their entry into or stay in the Schengen area.
 
     Council Decision 2007/533/JHA (Law enforcement cooperation): SIS supports police and judicial cooperation by allowing competent authorities to create and consult alerts on missing persons and on persons or objects related to criminal offences.
 
     Regulation (EC) No 1986/2006 (Cooperation on vehicle registration) Vehicle registration services may consult SIS in order to check the legal status of the vehicles presented to them for registration. They only have access to SIS alerts on vehicles, registration certificates and number plates.
 
Regulation (EU) 2018/18601 , Regulation (EU) 2018/18612  and Regulation (EU) 2018/18623 came into force at the beginning of the year 2020. However, the date on which SIS operations pursuant to these regulations will start to apply is still to be set by the Commission. The latter has till 28th December 2021 to announce such date.
 
Personal data processed in the SIS
 
Pursuant to the provisions of the SIS II legal framework, particularly Article 24 of Regulation 1987/2006 and Articles 26, 32, 34, 36, and 38 of Council Decision 2007/533/JHA, categories of information in the form of alerts concerning persons, objects, vehicles and documents are processed. When the alert concerns a person, the information can include:
 
(a) surname(s) and forename(s), name(s) at birth and previously used names and any aliases, which may be entered separately;
(b) any specific, objective, physical characteristics not subject to change;
(c) place and date of birth;
(d) sex;
(e) photographs;
(f) fingerprints;
(g) nationality(ies);
(h) whether the person concerned is armed, violent or has escaped;
(i) reason for the alert;
(j) authority issuing the alert;
(k) a reference to the decision giving rise to the alert;
(l) action to be taken;
(m) link(s) to other alerts issued in SIS II
 
The processing of sensitive personal data namely information revealing racial origin, political opinions or religious or other philosophical beliefs, as well as personal data concerning health or sexual life, is not allowed.
 
The SIS II legal framework lays down the reasons where an alert containing personal data may be inserted in the system.  These are as follows:
 
     Alerts issued in respect of third-country nationals for the purpose of refusing entry or stay
     Alerts in respect of persons wanted for arrest for surrender or extradition purposes
     Alerts on missing persons
     Alerts in respect for persons sought for a judicial procedure
     Alerts on persons or objects for discreet and specific checks
     Alerts on objects for seizure or use as evidence in criminal proceedings
 
Retention Period
 
Alerts on the SIS are retained until the purpose for which they were issued is fulfilled. Nevertheless, Member States are obliged to review the need to keep an alert at least every three years and one year for alerts concerning discreet and specific checks on persons. If the review is not performed, the alert will be automatically deleted.
 
What are your rights in relation to your personal data processed in the SIS​?
 
The SIS legal framework lays down the rights of persons in relation to the personal data processed in the system and which could be exercised in accordance with the national law of the respective country. In Malta, the applicable laws are the Data Protection (Processing of Personal Data by Competent Authorities for the Purposes of the Prevention, Investigation, Detection or Prosecution of Criminal Offences or the Execution of Criminal Penalties) Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 586.08) and the GDPR4 when the processing is conducted for other purposes.
 
Any person has the right to:
 
     request access to personal data relating to him/her entered in the SIS
     request the correction of factually inaccurate personal data relating to him/her or the deletion of his/her personal data in the case of unlawfully stored information
     the right to lodge a complaint with the Information and Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC) or to request verification of lawfulness of the processing
 
In order to facilitate the exercise of your rights and to be able to handle request more efficiently, you are solicited to use the model letters found on the left side of this page.
 
For more information about your rights and how to exercise them click here​.
 
1 Regulation (EU) 2018/1860 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 November 2018 on the use of the Schengen Information System for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals
2 Regulation (EU) 2018/1861 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 November 2018 on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of border checks, and amending the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, and amending and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006
3 Regulation (EU) 2018/1862 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 November 2018 on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, amending and repealing Council Decision 2007/533/JHA, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1986/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Decision 2010/261/EU​
4 Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)
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