Territory of the Schengen Agreement
The Schengen area is an area where internal border checks between certain Schengen countries have been abolished. Border checks are carried out only on entry into the Schengen territory. The aim of Schengen cooperation is to facilitate the free and unrestricted movement of people within the Schengen zone while also maintaining security and safety.
To achieve this, a dedicated data exchange system has been set up - The Schengen Information System (SIS). This system enables the police, customs, external border controls, and law enforcement authorities of all Schengen Member States to engage in enhanced and effective cooperation, which is necessary for the abolition of internal borders.
The primary goal of Schengen cooperation is not only to promote economic growth and cultural exchange by removing barriers and streamlining travel procedures among the member countries but also to protect individuals and their property.
The first step towards a common external border management policy was taken on 14 June 1985 when five of the then ten Member States of the European Economic Community signed the Schengen Agreement. This agreement was supplemented five years later by the Convention on the Implementation of the Schengen Agreement, which is collectively known as the Schengen acquis - comprising these treaties and provisions.
The Schengen area comprises the following 26 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Latvia joined the Schengen area on 21 December 2007 and Latvian citizens are no longer subject to border controls when entering other Schengen territory countries. When leaving or entering the Schengen territory from non-Schengen territories, travelers are subject to border controls. When travelling between the borders of the European Union, no customs control is carried out, nor is it carried out when crossing the internal borders of the Schengen territory (for example, the Latvian-Lithuanian border). However, in the border area, your car can be stopped by mobile patrols on a random basis.
Schengen Information System
The Schengen Information System has been established in accordance with European Union law to strengthen public order and security within the Schengen Area, facilitating cooperation among the Member States by providing alerts to competent authorities.
The original Schengen Information System (SIS I) was developed as an intergovernmental project and became operational in 1995. It remained operational until May 2013 when it was replaced by SIS II. The decision to create the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) was made in December 1996, considering the need to connect several Member States to this upgraded information system.
In view of the amendments to SIS II, SIS II is currently operating on the basis of the following Regulations:
- Regulation (EU) 2018/1860 https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:32018R1860 illegally staying third-country nationals
- Regulation (EU) 2018/1861 https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32018R1861 border checks;
- Regulation (EU) 2018/1862 https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32018R1862 police cooperation.
Both SIS I and SIS II consist of national systems developed in their respective countries and connected to the Central System through the network. SIS II serves as an information management infrastructure to support border control, related police security tasks, and judicial cooperation.
SIS II stands as the largest commonly used database in Europe for maintaining public order, facilitating police and judicial cooperation, and managing external border controls. Participating Member States enter alerts (known as "hits") into the system for wanted or missing persons, stolen vehicles, lost documents, and entry bans. It provides immediate and direct access to police officers, as well as other law enforcement officers and authorities requiring this information for the execution of their duties, thus ensuring law enforcement, order, and crime combating. SIS II covers most European Union countries, as well as Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland. The management of SIS II falls under the responsibility of a new agency for operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security, and justice – eu-LISA (for additional information - https://www.eulisa.europa.eu/Activities/Large-Scale-It-Systems/Sis-Ii).
In Latvia, the procedures for maintaining and using the SIS are specified in the Law on the Operation of the Schengen Information System (available on - https://likumi.lv/ta/en/en/id/159481-law-on-the-operation-of-the-schengen-information-system).
The Information Centre of the Ministry of the Interior acts as the controller of the national part of SIS II. Additionally, a SIRENE information system has been established to process supplementary information and manage alerts. This system is accessible only to the National Police Unit, known as the SIRENE Latvian Bureau. SIRENE stands for Supplementary Information Request at the National Entry, and it refers to the main task of the "SIRENE Offices" in all Schengen States - facilitating the exchange of supplementary information related to alerts in SIS II. The SIRENE Bureau provides additional information on alerts, coordinate measures in response to SIS II alerts, and ensure appropriate action is taken when a wanted person is apprehended, if a person refused entry into the Schengen area attempts to re-enter, if a missing person has been found, a stolen car has been located, or an identity document has been confiscated, etc.
To ensure the exchange of information between the law enforcement authorities of Member States upon detecting a person or object with an alert in SIS II and to guarantee the quality and legal validity of alerts entered in the Latvian law enforcement authorities' SIS II - in compliance with Schengen acquis requirements - the International Cooperation Bureau of the Central Criminal Police Department of the State Police has established a national unit of SIRENE Latvia. Apart from these responsibilities, the SIRENE Latvian National Unit coordinates search activities for criminals sought by foreign law enforcement authorities and missing persons in Latvia, as well as facilitates the repatriation of individuals detained abroad back to Latvia. The SIRENE Latvia National Unit is the sole authority in the country with specific rights to handle applications from natural persons and provide responses regarding the maintenance of the applicant's data in the Schengen Information System and the SIRENE Information System. Further information on SIS is available on the website of the National Police: https://www.vp.gov.lv/lv/sengenas-informacijas-sistema.
Monitoring of SIS
The European Data Protection Supervisor is responsible for monitoring whether the processing of information in SIS II at the European Union level is carried out in accordance with the provisions of SIS II. On the other hand, the lawfulness of processing personal data in SIS within the territory of each country, the lawfulness of their transmission from that State's territory, and the lawfulness of exchanging and further processing supplementary information within its territory are ensured by the data protection supervisory authority of each Member State of the European Union, within the limits of its jurisdiction. In Latvia this authority is the Data State Inspectorate.
Right of access, rectification, or erasure of your data
Everyone shall have the right to be informed about the data concerning themselves in the SIS II and the SIRENE Information System unless such disclosure is prohibited by law in the fields of national security, defense, and criminal law, or if another Member State has imposed restrictions on data provision. Furthermore, everyone has the right to request that their personal data be supplemented, corrected, interrupted, or deleted from SIS II if the data is incomplete, outdated, inaccurate, unlawfully obtained, or no longer necessary for the intended purpose of collection.
To obtain the aforementioned information about themselves, which is included in the SIS II, a person must submit a written application (either self-written or signed with a secure electronic signature) to the State Police (SIRENE Latvian National Unit) or to the police unit at their place of residence, or to the diplomatic or consular missions of the Republic of Latvia.
SIRENE Latvian National Units
Čiekurkalna 1. līnija 1 k- 4
Riga, LV – 1026
Tel.: 67219053; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Diplomatic or consular missions of the Republic of Latvia
contact details available at:
Homepage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia:
The application must include the following information:
1. Particulars of the applicant:
- Given name (forenames)
- Date of birth
- Personal identity number (if any)
- Place of birth
- Type, number, name of the issuing authority, date of issue, and expiry date of the identity document (if any).
2. The scope of the information to be requested, specifying:
- Information on the data subject.
- Information on the recipients of the personal data of the data subject.
3.The type of receipt of information, indicating:
- Whether the person will personally arrive at the State Police Institution or Representation to receive the information.
- Or, if the information should be sent to the indicated address.
4. If the information is requested by an authorized person, include the given name, surname, personal identity number (if any), and date of birth of the authorized person.
Submissions can be prepared in Latvian and English.
Samples of Submissions
When submitting a request, the data subject must certify their identity in person by presenting an identity document or signing the request with a secure electronic signature. If the request is submitted by an authorized person, they must present a notarized authorization confirming the right to receive information about the data subject, or a document confirming the rights of parents, adopters, guardians, or custodians. The process of receiving information is free of charge.
The SIRENE Latvian National Unit provides a reply within one month. However, the Unit may refuse to provide the requested information if the submission does not contain all the required information or if the information provided is inaccurate, making it impossible to identify the person. Additionally, the provision of the requested information may not be permissible if the disclosure of such information is prohibited by law in the field of national security, defense, and criminal law, or if restrictions on data provision have been imposed by another Member State.
If the reply from the SIRENE Latvian National Unit denies providing information to the data subject or refuses to correct or delete the data, the person has the right to submit an application to the Data State Inspectorate to request a verification of compliance with their rights. Applications may be submitted to the Data State Inspectorate in Latvian and English.
A complaint form is available here -
The procedure for natural persons to obtain information on the presence of data in the Schengen Information System and the SIRENE Information System is defined in Cabinet Regulation No 622 of 11 September 2007. This regulation outlines the process for requesting and issuing information on the data subject stored in the Schengen Information System and the SIRENE Information System.
Similarly, the procedures for including, correcting, and deleting alerts in SIS II, as well as ensuring the availability of supplementary information to the SIRENE Latvian Bureau, and the procedures for the exchange of supplementary information among authorities are specified in Cabinet Regulation No 639 of 18 September 2007. This regulation covers the process for entering, correcting, and deleting alerts in the Schengen Information System, ensuring the availability of supplementary information to the SIRENE Latvian Bureau, and the exchange of supplementary information between authorities.
Guidelines on data subject rights in SIS II
To ensure the protection of data subject rights in relation to SIS II, the SIS II Supervisory Coordination Group, which consists of supervisory authorities for personal data protection in the Schengen area and the European Data Protection Supervisor's Office, has developed guidelines on how data subjects can access information about themselves in SIS II. These guidelines provide instructions on exercising the right of access to SIS II and include practical information about the relevant authorities where individuals can seek professional advice while exercising their rights. The guidelines - https://edpb.europa.eu/system/files/2023-04/csc_guide_right_of_access_rectification_and_erasure_20230403_en.pdf