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Summaries of EU Legislation

Combating document fraud: FADO image-archiving system

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Combating document fraud: FADO image-archiving system



Joint Action 98/700/JHA concerning the setting up of a European image-archiving system


It sets up a European Union (EU) internet-based image archiving system known as FADO (False and Authentic Documents Online). This allows the rapid sharing between EU countries of images of genuine, false and forged documents, in order to aid in combating illegal immigration and the use of fraudulent documents.


  • The system is multilingual, designed to be user-friendly and based on very strict codification to ensure the standardisation and security of the information.
  • One central service in each EU country links to the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU, but each EU country is free to develop its own system for secure internal data transmission. Individual workstations in an EU country have no direct link with the General Secretariat other than through their central service.
  • Information given to the General Secretariat is entered as quickly as possible into the FADO system. Each EU country is then responsible for adding these data to its own system.
  • The setting up of the EU system does not prevent EU countries from developing their own national systems to meet their own border security and document verification requirements.
  • The system is particularly designed to allow for:
    • on-screen comparison between original and forged documents;
    • centralised information on forgery and security techniques;
    • cross-referencing so that users can find related information rapidly;
    • notifications about particular false documents.
  • Priority is given to EU countries’ documents and those of non-EU countries from where there are regular immigration flows.
  • On 1 December 2014, the United Kingdom notified the European Commission that it wished to participate in the joint action. This was confirmed by Commission Decision 2014/858/EU.


It has applied since 10 December 1998.


The increasing number of genuine and false immigration documents, such as passports, residence permits and visas, and increasingly sophisticated forgery techniques mean that the tools needed to combat illegal immigration and the use of forged documents need to be kept up to date.

For more information, see:


Joint Action 98/700/JHA of 3 December 1998 adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union concerning the setting up of a European Image Archiving System (FADO) (OJ L 333, 9.12.1998, pp. 4–7)


Commission Decision 2014/858/EU of 1 December 2014 on the notification by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of its wish to participate in acts of the Union in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters adopted before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and which are not part of the Schengen acquis (OJ L 345, 1.12.2014, pp. 6–9)

last update 23.08.2016