Eurodac is an EU database that stores the fingerprints of international protection applicants or people who have crossed a border illegally. It is used by the countries of the EU and also Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland.
The purpose of Eurodac is to give member states information to help them to decide which country is responsible for a person’s international protection application. If your fingerprint data is stored on Eurodac because you previously applied for international protection in another country, you may be returned to that country under the Dublin Regulations.
Eurodac is equipped with a central database for comparing the fingerprints of asylum applicants and a system for electronic data transmission between member states and the database.
What information is stored by Eurodac?
In addition to fingerprints, data sent by member states include the member state of origin (the state sending the data), the place and date of the international protection application (if applicable), the person’s gender and a reference number. Data is collected for anyone over 14 years of age and is encoded directly into the database, either by the Central Unit or by the member state of origin.
In the case of asylum seekers, data is kept for 10 years unless the individual obtains the citizenship of one of the member states, when their particulars are immediately erased. Data relating to foreign nationals apprehended when attempting to cross an external border irregularly is kept for 2 years from the date on which the fingerprints were taken. Data is immediately erased before the end of 2 years if the foreign national either:
- Receives a residence permit or
- Has left the territory of the member states
In the case of foreign nationals found illegally present within a member state, Eurodac makes it possible to check their fingerprints against those in the central database to determine whether the individual had previously lodged an international protection application in another member state. After the fingerprints have been transmitted for comparison purposes, they are not stored by Eurodac.
The member state of origin must ensure that all operations are performed lawfully, such as the taking of fingerprints, as well as all operations involving the use, transmission, conservation or erasure of the data. The Data Protection Commissioner is the national supervising authority in Ireland.
Application of Eurodac in Ireland
When you make an application for international protection, you and your dependent minors will have your photograph taken. You will also have your fingerprints taken. Fingerprints of your dependent minors may also be taken. Your fingerprints may be disclosed in confidence to the relevant Irish authorities and to international protection authorities of other countries.
You must allow your fingerprints to be taken. If you do not allow your fingerprints to be taken, you may be detained.