Following decades of efforts and after successful assessments, Cyprus is set to join the Schengen Information System on July 25th, 2023.
The enlistment of the island into the SIS is of significant importance, as it will facilitate the Authorities to more efficiently identify and prevent security risks of Cypriot citizens. The Governmental database will allow Cyprus to exchange information with other Member States on issues such as wanted persons, persons illegally staying on EU territory, persons involved in terrorism and vulnerable persons at risk of abduction.
Cooperation between national police and judicial systems is required by the Schengen Countries Zone. Importantly, SIS allows competent Authorities to issue and consult alerts on persons involved in serious crimes and persons who may not have the right to enter or stay in the EU. It also includes alerts on people who have gone missing, particularly minors, as well as information on certain items of property, including, banknotes, cars, vans, firearms, and identity documents, that may have been stolen, lost or misplaced.
As a result of the latest amendments made in May 2023, the enhanced version of SIS offers new categories of alerts, such as alerts pertaining to vulnerable individuals, and alerts pertaining to children who are in danger of being kidnapped. These alerts aim to protect children from getting kidnapped and transported to third countries. Further, aiming to support Member States’ fight against illegal immigration, the upgraded system provides new alerts about foreign nationals who are residing in the EU unlawfully and advanced tools that help them identify non-EU nationals.
In addition to the above, by joining the SIS, Cyprus is one step closer to being a full member of the Schengen Zone. Following such admission, Cyprus will enjoy all benefits of a Member State including the ability to issue Schengen Visas which will allow third country nationals to travel and move freely within the Schengen area, avoiding strict border inspections.