accessibility & help

International family tracing

Tracing missing relatives

To find your missing relatives, we need as much information as possible. We will help you fill out a form and send this information to the Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society in the country you think your relative is in, or to the International Committee of the Red Cross who will try to find your family.

Our ability to trace people depends on the information you can provide and local circumstances, including the security situation in the relevant country.

As well as restoring contact between family members separated as a result of contemporary conflicts and disasters, 7 per cent of our caseload still relates to relatives missing as a result of the Second World War. Find out more about tracing family members separated as a result of the Second World War.

To trace family members, please contact your local Red Cross office.

Finding families in Europe

Trace the Face gives people the chance to look for loved ones in Europe in an active way. Families can have their photo published on the Trace the Face website or on Red Cross posters across Europe.

Sending Red Cross messages

The Red Cross message service provides a way for families to keep in contact and share family news when war or disaster has broken down communication networks. 

A Red Cross message is an open letter containing family news. During a conflict, the neutrality of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement means that we are able to pass these messages across borders and conflict lines when other forms of communication are not in working order. This means a Red Cross message can be read by the authorities and cannot contain any political, military or discriminatory information, as this could jeopardise the neutrality of the service.

Our ability to deliver messages depends on the information you can provide and local circumstances, including the security situation, in the relevant country.

If you would like to send a Red Cross message to your family, please contact your local Red Cross office.

Tracing service at UK detention centres

We deliver the international family tracing service to people being held in British immigration removal centres. If you or someone you know is held in an immigration removal centre and want to use the service, please contact your local Red Cross office.

Providing certificate of detention

If you were visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) while imprisoned, we may be able to provide confirmation of your detention.

Please contact your local Red Cross office.

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