The aim of this Study is to present an overview of the challenges faced by national authorities in their efforts to reliably establish and verify the identity of third-country nationals within the context of various migration procedures – asylum procedures, return procedures and legal migration channels (including both short-stay and long-stay visas and residence permits) – and of national practices to address those challenges. This study updates and supplements the 2013 EMN Study “Establishing Identity for International Protection: Challenges and Practices”. 26 Member States and Norway contributes their national reports.
Key points to note:
• The importance of identity management in migration procedures has increased significantly in recent years in light of the rise in the number of applications for international protection since 2014/2015 and of current heightened security challenges. The ability to unequivocally establish the identity of a third-country national is of key importance in all migration procedures.
• The importance of identity establishment for the outcome of the application depends on the type of procedure. While a valid proof of identity is crucial for a positive decision in legal migration procedures, many (Member) States also grant international protection if identity cannot be (fully) established. In return procedures, the importance of an established identity generally depends on the requirements of the (presumed) country of origin. (Member) States face challenges related to identity establishment of thirdcountry nationals in all migration processes; however, due to the significant rise of applicants for international protection in recent years, these have become particularly visible in asylum and return procedures. Generally, (Member) States observed an increase in the number of international protection applicants unable to provide a valid proof of identity.
• EU-wide information management systems, such as Eurodac, the Visa Information System (VIS) and Schengen Information System (SIS) play an increasingly important role in the identity establishment process, by providing biographic and biometric data of third-country nationals.
• Next to travel and identity documents, (Member) States use a wide range of methods to support the process of identity establishment. Cooperation between competent authorities on a national, bilateral and European level has been established in the form of pilot projects, shared databases, etc.
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