Eurodac: better identification of asylum seekers and irregular migrants 

Press Releases 
  • Facial images will be stored alongside fingerprints 
  • Children from 6 years old will be identified to ensure they are better protected 
  • Authorities will record in the system if a person could present a security threat 

MEPs endorsed a more effective system to identify people arriving into the EU, with improved statistics and better data protection safeguards.

The revised Eurodac Regulation will improve the collection of data on asylum applicants and irregular migrants apprehended in the EU member states territory through biometric data - by adding facial images to existing fingerprinting databases - and additional information, including name, surname, nationality and date and place of birth. Authorities will also include information on decisions to remove and return the person or relocate them. The regulation was adopted with 404 votes to 202 and 16 abstentions.

Lowering the age of identification from 14 to 6 years old

The threshold for collecting data from a child will be lowered from 14 to 6 years of age, to be taken by trained staff in a child-friendly manner. This information will make it easier to identify unaccompanied minors who may abscond from care institutions or child social services, and help keep track of minors that are separated from their families and might then be found in another member state.

Security flags

Authorities will be able to record in the system if a person presents a threat to internal security, only if the person is violent or unlawfully armed, or where they have links to terrorism or a terrorist group, or are involved in offences within the scope of the European arrest warrant.

New categories

The fact that a person has been disembarked in an EU member state following a search and rescue operation will be recorded separately and used for statistical purposes in order to provide a more accurate picture of migratory flows into the EU. MEPs supported including people taking part in national and EU resettlement schemes as well as for beneficiaries of temporary protection in the scope of the database.


Cross-referenced, anonymised statistics will be improved with interoperability between Eurodac and other justice and home affairs systems - such as Visa Information System, ETIAS and Entry/Exit System – in order to provide useful information to policy makers.


Rapporteur Jorge Buxadé Villalba (ECR, Spain) said: "Member States will finally have a functioning database to store and check fingerprints, facial images, travel documents, and all the information needed to identify individuals illegally staying in the EU. Competent national authorities will have all the information needed to identify all illegals, including those who attempt to avoid being identified. The new database will prevent secondary movements, and will facilitate the work of the authorities to return those with no right to stay. Moreover, Eurodac will contain security flags on those individuals that could pose a threat to the Member States' internal security. Asylum authorities will be informed about threats to act accordingly. With the new Eurodac we protect our neighbourhoods and our social security systems. This is the EU showing added value!”

Next steps

The new rules have to now formally be approved by the Council. The regulation will enter into force twenty days after publication in the EU Official Journal and will start applying two years after.


Established in 2000, Eurodac was then reformed in 2013 – those changes are in place since 2015-. Administered by eu-LISA, Eurodac supports the management of European asylum applications by storing and processing the digitalised fingerprints of asylum seekers and irregular migrants on EU territory. National police authorities and Europol can access the system to investigate terrorist and other serious criminal offences.

Eurodac is currently operational across 31 countries, encompassing all 27 EU member states and four associated countries, namely Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

The reform of Eurodac is part of the wider revamp of the EU’s common asylum and migration rules, voted today. You can find more information here.