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CIS system

CIS system

The purpose of this regulation is to set up a computer system centralizing customs information in order to prosecute and investigate breaches of customs and agricultural legislation more effectively.


Council Regulation (EC) No 515/97 of 13 March 1997 on mutual assistance between the administrative authorities of the Member States and cooperation between the latter and the Commission to ensure the correct application of the law on customs or agricultural matters [See amending acts].


This regulation sets up a customs information system (CIS). This common computer network is set up and maintained by the Member States' customs administrations and the Commission in the form of a central database accessible via terminals in each Member State and at the Commission.

The CIS system helps to prevent, investigate and prosecute breaches of Community customs or agricultural legislation. It increases the effectiveness of the cooperation and control procedures of the customs authorities by disseminating data and information quickly. The system also enables both regular and occasional data exchange on goods moving between the customs territory of the Community and third countries.

The conditions on the use of information technology within customs are strictly defined. As such the data entered into the CIS shall only be related to:

  • goods;
  • means of transport;
  • businesses;
  • people;
  • trends in fraud;
  • available competencies;
  • goods detained, seized or confiscated;
  • cash detained, seized or confiscated.

Only the authorities designated by the Member States and the Commission have direct access to the data contained in the CIS. These authorities are designated after a list has been sent to the Commission, which also details specific conditions regarding each authority’s access to the data.

International or regional organisations can access the CIS by special dispensation. In exceptional circumstances, certain data can be sent to other national authorities or to third countries.

Data protection

The CIS contains data only, including that of a personal character *, necessary to achieve the system’s objective and which are provided by measures such as sighting, surveillance, specific checks and operational analysis *.

The personal details which can be entered into the CIS are detailed in a limited list. They are only entered if there are real indications that the person concerned has breached, is breaching or will breach customs or agricultural legislation. Any person has the right to access the data concerning them to check that they are accurate and what is being made of them. This information could be used in legal proceedings.

The data in the CIS is confidential and may only be reproduced for technical reasons such as in cases justified by the information search. On the authorisation of the authority that entered them, personal data can be transmitted to systems of risk management used for national customs controls or to operational analysis systems used at Community level.

Customs Files Identification Database

The Customs Files Identification Database (FIDE) is a database which has been added to the CIS to facilitate investigations carried out by the Commission and the national competent authorities. It brings together files relating to persons and businesses that have been suspected of or found guilty of offences.


The Commission adopted a new strategy for the development of the Union’s customs, which aims in particular to improve cooperation between customs authorities and a more generalised use of information systems.

Key terms of the Act

  • Operational analysis: the process of analysis of operations which constitute, or appear to constitute, breaches during many phases such as the collection of information, evaluation of the reliability of the information, the linking of information, as well as the formulation of recommendations aimed at identifying persons or businesses implicated and/or to detect other offences.
  • Personal data: any information regarding a physical person, identified or identifiable (this means it could be identified either directly or indirectly, in particular by an identification number or by elements specific to his physical, physiological, psychological, economic, cultural or social identity).


Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 515/97



ABl. L 82 vom 22.3.1997

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 807/2003



OJ L 122 of 16.5.2003

Regulation (EC) No 766/2008



OJ L 218 of 13.8.2008

Subsequent amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No


 have been incorporated in the basic text. This

consolidated version

 has a purely documentary value.

Last updated: 31.01.2011