Schengen Information System operational in Cyprus

The Schengen Information System (SIS) is operational in Cyprus, upgrading
border security and policing in the country, the Ministry of Justice and
Public Order said in a statement on Tuesday.

As stated, the main purpose of the SIS is to exchange information and data
between the participating countries in real time, while ensuring that the
authorities have more complete and reliable information at their disposal.
It is added that the use of the system in the Schengen countries started in
1995 and has since undergone two upgrades, first in 2013 and then in March
2023, after which the SIS has the possibility to add fingerprints,
photographs and DNA files, while its functionalities have been also

It is noted that with these capabilities, the SIS has further strengthened
Europe’s authorities in terms of protecting vulnerable persons, as
authorities can enter information and additional data (e.g. DNA records) on
missing persons for identification purposes, while also allowing for
preventive alerts concerning certain vulnerable persons categories, such as
children at risk of abduction or potential victims of terrorism,
trafficking, gender-based violence or armed conflict.

It is added that the use of the system also enhances the counter-terrorism
and counter-crime action of the European authorities through the exchange of
information on persons and objects involved in activities related to
terrorism or serious crime, an area in which, from March 2021, participating
countries have been exchanging “search matches” with EUROPOL for SIS entries
related to terrorist crimes.

The use of the SIS also strengthens the effort to combat irregular migration
of third country nationals to Europe, since through the system countries
enter return decisions, as well as alerts regarding persons found to be
illegally staying in the EU and are subject to entry bans, it is added.
It is also noted that the SIS does not contain personal data on all European
citizens or residents and that entries in the system only include
information on persons or objects related to various crimes.
In a statement on the same subject today, the Ministry of Interior said that
access to the SIS is one of the milestones towards fully implementing the
Schengen acquis.

The Ministry clarifies at the same time that controls at internal borders
with other Schengen member states have not been lifted, both for citizens of
the Republic of Cyprus, European citizens and third country nationals, and
adds that until its accession to the Schengen area, Cyprus will continue, as
before, to carry out checks on both arriving and departing passengers at all
Border Crossing Points, on the basis of the Aliens and Immigration Law.