The BVA manages various databases in the field of public security. Via the central register portal, it operates different national and European IT applications for security and migration agencies at federal and Land level.
Since 1960, the Central Register of Foreigners (Ausländerzentralregister, AZR) has been operated at the BVA. Containing about 26 million personal records, the AZR is one of the major computerized databases in public administration. Additionally, a part of the data records from the Schengen Information System (SIS) is made available to approximately 570 foreigners' registration offices and more than 170 German missions abroad.
The BVA assists the Federal Foreign Office and the German missions abroad in visa procedures by checking if there is any information on the applicants giving grounds to refuse the issuance of a visa. For this purpose, the AZR, SIS and the visa warning file, operated at the BVA since 1 June 2013, are consulted in about 2.3 million visa applications a year.
The National Firearms Register (Nationales Waffenregister, NWR) contributes to public security, too. Essential information on firearms and ammunition requiring a permit and in legal private possession have been centrally stored since January 2013.
This task was transferred from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) to the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) on 6 July 2017 by the amendment of the German Weapons Act.
As the responsible registration authority, the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) started to operate the German Firearms Register on 1 January 2013, which provides essential current and timely information on every firearm requiring a permit and in private possession.
On 11 October 2011, the European Visa Information System (VIS) became operational on the basis of the Regulation (EC No 767/2008; VIS Regulation). The VIS is supposed to help to prevent threats to public security and visa fraud, to facilitate checks at the external borders and within the territory of the member states as well as to allow the identification and return of illegal immigrants by a trans-European interchange of data on visas issued for short-term stays. The stored data include a photograph of the applicant, information on the visa application, and fingerprints.
The BVA maintains a part of the Schengen Information System data stock and transmits these data to German missions abroad and foreigners authorities.
The Act Amending the Residence Act and other laws requires the Federal Office of Administration to manage a database (database on found documents) containing information on found identification documents of nationals of countries listed in Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 which are issued by foreign public bodies (Article 49 of the Residence Act).
Whether someone wants to enter Germany to visit relatives, to study, work, rejoin family members or for other reasons, when foreigners apply for a visa to enter Germany at a German mission abroad (embassy or consulate-general), we are consulted electronically.