The European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), operational since April 2012, provides an electronic exchange of criminal record information on a decentralised basis between Member States. It allows Member State's criminal records authorities to obtain complete information on previous convictions of EU nationals from the Member State of that person's nationality. ECRIS-TCN, once set up, will be a centralised system that allows Member State's authorities to identify which other Member States hold criminal records on the third country nationals or stateless persons being checked, so that they can then use the existing ECRIS system to address requests for conviction information only to the identified Member States.
Improving ECRIS with regard to TCN is part of the European Agenda on Security. The initiative is also a part of the new approach set out by the European Commission towards data management for borders and security whereby all centralised EU information systems for security, border and migration management should become interoperable in full respect of fundamental rights.
ECRIS-TCN will be developed and managed by eu-LISA. A Member State wishing to identify the Member State(s) holding criminal record information on a particular TCN can do so by performing a ‘hit/no hit’ search in the central TCN system.