FAQ

Frontex collects and processes data from Member States on the number of detections of illegal border crossings at the external borders of the Member States of the European Union. A person may attempt to cross the border irregularly several times either at the same or in different locations at the external border of the EU.

For the most recent number of irregular border crossings into the EU, visit our migratory routes map page, where you can also download the excel sheet with the latest available data. 


Visit the Migratory Routes Map on our website for the latest figures on the main routes used by migrants to enter the European Union.

We regularly publish reports on the situation at the EU’s external borders. Please see our risk analysis publications for details here.


Between 2015 and 2020 Frontex helped to rescue more than 350 000 people in the Mediterranean as part of operations Themis in Italy, Poseidon in Greece and Indalo in Spain.


Integrated Border Management (IBM) reflects the fact that what happens at a national border is only a small part of a much bigger process. IBM focuses on what happens before a person crosses a border (whether passengers have all the required documents, such as valid passport or visa), during the border crossing (document and database checks) and after a person crosses the border (determination whether the person has the right to remain in the EU/Schengen area or whether there is a need for international protection).

To maintain the balance between easing legitimate travel and policing the border, IBM requires a high degree of cooperation between the Member States of the EU and Schengen Area, as well as across the external borders with the authorities of neighbouring states and travellers’ countries of origin or transit. In short, Integrated Border Management (IBM) includes the following key elements: · Border control, in the form of border checks at the sea, land and air borders and border surveillance · Search and rescue operations · Inter-agency cooperation and coordination of the Member States’ and EU’s activities · Cooperation with third countries and neighbouring countries · Return of third-country nationals who are the subject of return decisions issued by a Member State.


Search and Rescue (SAR) is always a priority for everyone operating at sea. The agency provides support both to Member States and non-EU countries in SAR operations during its maritime operations. The search and rescue operations are carried out in accordance with EU and international law.

International law obliges all captains of vessels to provide assistance to any persons found in distress at sea. SAR is also a specific objective of the operational plan of every Frontex joint maritime operation. For this reason, vessels deployed by Frontex to an operational area are always ready to provide support to the national authorities in SAR operations.

It is important to stress that all SAR operations are coordinated by the national Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC). The MRCC orders those vessels which are either the closest to the incident or the most capable ones (due to the specialised training of the crew, or the vessels specifications, etc.) to assist in the rescue. These may include national commercial or military vessels, vessels deployed by Frontex, private boats and other.

During a standard border control operation, Frontex-deployed vessels operate under the command of the International Coordination Centre (ICC), but when contacted by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and redirected to a SAR operation, it is the MRCC that takes command. Once Frontex assets reach people in distress, they first provide immediate medical assistance and give them food and water. Once a rescue operation is completed, migrants are disembarked and handed over to the national authorities for identification and registration. In Italy and Greece, Frontex officers assist in registration and identification of the large numbers of arrivals in hotspots.


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