European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS)

On the 19th of January 2016, the European Commission proposed to upgrade the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) in order to facilitate the exchange of criminal records of non-EU citizens in the EU.

Currently, if a Member State desires to carry out a background check on a non-EU citizen, it must send individual requests to all the concerned Member States in order to obtain a complete overview of the person’s criminal history. The resulting administrative burden is significant and time-consuming. The proposed changes are expected to improve and facilitate the exchange of this information, especially regarding citizens from third countries.

As a reminder, the ECRIS was created in 2012 on the basis of the Council Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA and the Council Decision 2009/316/JHA in order to enable the Member States to obtain and exchange information on previous criminal convictions in other Member States.

Information can be exchanged under certain circumstances, particularly within the frames of:

Criminal Record Issuance: a citizen may request a copy of his/her criminal record for employment, immigration or other purposes.

Criminal Proceedings: According to the Council Framework Decision 2008/675/JHA, the judicial authorities of a Member State should take into account previous convictions that may have been pronounced in other Member States, irrespective of the concerned person’s nationality.

Investigation: Within the frames of an investigation, the police and the judicial authorities of a country may use the ECRIS to obtain information on a suspect’s background.

Crime Prevention: which is achieved due to the improved cooperation between the competent authorities in the EU.

Crime prevention is also the main benefit for EU citizens who can enjoy an improved level of security, while citizens from third countries may benefit from the ECRIS by being able to demonstrate a clean criminal record in all the EU.

For information on how to obtain a criminal record in Cyprus, you can get in touch with our lawyers.