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Electronic system for comparison of fingerprints of asylum applicants 

EURODAC system has brought significant benefits with regard to simplifying the application of Dublin II Regulation. At the most basic level, EURODAC can be perceived as an electronic database containing fingerprints of asylum seekers as well as those of certain other categories of aliens common to all Member States. The legal basis for establishment of EURODAC system is contained in Council Regulation (EC) No. 2725/2000 of 11 December 2000 concerning the establishment of EURODAC for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of the Dublin Convention. Certain aspects of EURODAC system functionality are addressed by Commission Regulation (EC) No. 407/2002 of 28 February 2002 laying down certain rules to implement Regulation (EC) No. 2725/2000.

The Member States are obligated to send the fingerprints of all asylum seekers and aliens apprehended in relation to the irregular crossing of EU external borders who have reached the age of fourteen to EURODAC system. These data, together with certain descriptive information (reference number; gender; date and place where the application for asylum was lodged or, where applicable, where alien was apprehended; and the date the information was transferred to EURODAC Central Unit) are stored in the system’s Central Unit. The data pertaining to the fingerprints of asylum seekers are kept for a period ten years. In the case of persons apprehended for illegal crossing of an external border, the retention period is two years. A third (non-mandatory) category of persons whose fingerprints are taken for the purposes of EURODAC are aliens apprehended during an unauthorised stay in the territory of a Member State and it is believed that alien has lodged an application for asylum in another Member State at an earlier stage. In this case, data are not stored in the Central Unit but are only compared with the fingerprints of asylum seekers stored in the system.
The result of the fingerprint comparison performed by EURODAC system represents significant supporting material that for determining which state is responsible for examining a specific application for asylum in accordance with the criteria set forth by Dublin II Regulation. For example, it can be determined with certainty that a person whose fingerprints have been taken has already lodged an application for asylum in another Member State or entered the territory of EU Member States illegally.

All data must be sent to EURODAC Central Unit in electronic format. While the data is being processed, the protection of personal data must be ensured. A match (or HIT) in the system is always verified manually by a dactyloscopic expert. Individuals who are fingerprinted for EURODAC system purposes are always informed as to the reasons why their fingerprints are being taken.

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