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Customs information system (CIS) system



Regulation (EC) No 515/97 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


  • It seeks to strengthen administrative cooperation (mutual assistance) among national authorities and between the authorities and the European Commission regarding the application of EU customs and agricultural legislation.
  • The customs information system (CIS) helps to prevent, investigate and prosecute breaches of EU customs or agricultural legislation.
  • It increases the effectiveness of the cooperation and control procedures of the national authorities by disseminating data and information quickly.
  • The system also enables data exchange on goods moving between the customs territory of the EU and non-EU countries.


  • The conditions in which the CIS operates are defined in the regulation itself. The data entered into the CIS must only relate to:
    • commodities (goods);
    • means of transport;
    • businesses;
    • persons;
    • fraud trends;
    • availability of expertise;
    • goods detained, seized or confiscated;
    • cash detained, seized or confiscated.
  • International or regional organisations can access the CIS by a Council decision. Under certain conditions, data can be shared with other national authorities, non-EU countries and international or regional organisations, and/or EU agencies.

Data protection

  • It may happen that the information exchanged contains personal data*. Personal data exchanges occur only where necessary to achieve the system’s objectives, for instance, for the purposes of sighting, specific checks or operational analysis*.
  • All the data in the CIS are 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 EU level.

Customs files identification database

The customs files identification database (FIDE) is a specific part of the CIS. It centralises files relating to persons and businesses that have been suspected of, or found guilty of, offences.

Improved risk management and fraud detection and prevention

  • Regulation (EU) 2015/1525, which has applied since 1 September 2016, amends Regulation (EC) No 515/97 with the aim of improving the detection, investigation and prevention of customs-related fraud, by streamlining the exchange of information and the available evidence, and improving the functioning of the established system. It addresses shortcomings in the systems for the detection of customs-related fraud as well as addressing delays in investigations carried out by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
  • Regulation (EU) 2015/1525:
    • introduces a directory of reported container status messages (CSM directory). EU countries have the same level of access as the Commission to the CSM directory;
    • establishes a centralised repository for import, export and transit data;
    • clarifies the possibility of using information obtained via mutual assistance as evidence in judicial and administrative proceedings;
    • sets out the procedure allowing the Commission to obtain supporting documents held by businesses. At the Commission’s request, EU countries must provide accompanying documents to the import and export declarations, and this request must be processed within 4 weeks;
    • simplifies the procedure for data storage in the CIS by removing the obligation to review data annually and by setting a maximum storage period of 5 years which can be increased, subject to justification, by an additional period of 2 years;
    • requires the Commission, by 9 October 2017, to carry out an assessment of the need to extend the scope of the export data contained in the directories concerned, as well as the feasibility of extending the scope of data contained in the transport directory, by including data on import, export and transit of goods by land and air.


It has applied since 13 March 1998.



Personal data: any information regarding a physical person, identified or identifiable (this means that the person could be identified either directly or indirectly, in particular by an identification number or by elements specific to that person’s physical, physiological, psychological, economic, cultural or social identity).
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.


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 (OJ L 82, 22.3.1997, pp. 1-16)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 515/97 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/757 of 3 February 2016 determining those operations in connection with the application of agricultural regulations which require the introduction of information into the Custom Information System (OJ L 126, 14.5.2016, pp. 1-2)

Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, pp. 89-131)

See consolidated version.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/345 of 10 March 2016 setting out the frequency of reporting of container status messages, the format of the data and the method of transmission (OJ L 65, 11.3.2016, pp. 38-39)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/346 of 10 March 2016 determining the items to be included in the Customs Information System (OJ L 65, 11.3.2016, pp. 40-48)

Council Decision 2009/917/JHA of 30 November 2009 on the use of information technology for customs purposes (OJ L 323, 10.12.2009, pp. 20-30)

Decision No 70/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on a paperless environment for customs and trade (OJ L 23, 26.1.2008, pp. 21-26)

See consolidated version.

last update 29.10.2019