Finding missing family

Get help finding missing relatives or family members through our international family tracing service. Our locating services may be able to help you find people you have been separated from because of war, natural disaster or migration.

Last updated: 22 May 2024

How the international family tracing service works

Our free and confidential international family tracing service can help with finding your family if you haven’t been able to contact them yourself. We may be able to help you if you are in the UK and want to:

  • find your missing family
  • contact a family member (send a message but not money or packages)
  • get a certificate of detention for those who have been imprisoned.

We help families reconnect with missing loved ones who have lost contact because of armed conflict, migration, and disaster. This includes finding partners of people who are not married and those looking for their same-sex partners.

Our service is to help find missing family and we can't give you letters for evidence in official proceedings.

Help in a recent emergency

If you need help with an urgent tracing enquiry, please check the quick links below or contact your local family tracing office.

Find missing family affected by:

Arrow icon Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory

Arrow icon A boat sinking

Arrow icon Sudan

Arrow icon Ukraine

A British Red Cross volunteer sits at a table talking to another person, who can only be seen from the back.

What will happen at your appointment?

If you're ready to find your missing family, our international family tracing service is available in a range of locations. Use the postcode lookup tool above to find your nearest service.

In the appointment:

  • We will ask questions about your relative and where you think they might be to assess if we can look for them.
  • We'll fill in a tracing and consent form together.
  • We can provide an interpreter for your preferred language.

Please note, most of our appointments are by phone or video call.

If you would like to see us for a face-to-face appointment, we will try and do this when possible. Please let us know when you speak to us.

Consent and your personal data

We will need your consent to share your information when looking for lost family. If you have questions about your personal data, please email:

Working to find people internationally

`We work with other Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations around the world to find people in their countries. Please remember that:

  • Some Red Cross and Red Crescent societies can take longer to respond to tracing enquiries, depending on the situation in their country. Enquiries for tracing lost people will be sent to them and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • In countries where there is armed conflict, staff and volunteers could be put at risk when trying to find missing family members. For this reason, we ask that you use our service only if you want to restore contact with your relatives.

We can’t promise to find your lost family or relatives, but we’ll contact our colleagues in that country and let you know as soon as we get any news.

You can also check if your family are looking for you and add your photo to our Trace the Face website.

If you are a refugee, we may also be able to help you reunite with your family in the UK.

If you don't live in the UK, how can you still get help to find your family members and friends?

If you can’t use our international family tracing service because you don’t live in the UK, you can contact the Red Cross or Red Crescent in your country.

There are also other organisations who may be able to help you with finding a missing person or loved one if we can't.

Finding family in an emergency

Looking for family in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory?

If you are worried about family who may be affected by the escalating armed violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory we might be able to help. Use the postcode locator above to contact your local British Red Cross International Family Tracing service. Please note we are unable to collect Tracing Requests if the loss of contact is not linked to the current situation starting on 7 October 2023.

Restoring Family Links services are still available but with limited capacity. We will continue to update this page as we have more information.

If you are concerned about British nationals, you should contact the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office at GOV.UK.

Looking for family or relatives lost in a boat sinking? 

If you are based in the UK and are concerned for family and missing loved ones who may have been in a shipwreck or boat sinking, please contact your local British Red Cross branch using the postcode finder above.

Please provide us with your full name, address and telephone number, and a team member from the international family tracing service will contact you as soon as possible.

Looking for family in Sudan?

Since mid-April 2023, there have been clashes across Sudan. If you have not been able to contact your family through your usual communication methods, or if your family member is thought to have been arrested, detained or has died, we may be able to assist.

Please contact your local British Red Cross office using the postcode finder tool above.

If you are concerned about British nationals in Sudan, or for more information, please contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Finding missing family in Ukraine

If you have lost contact with your family due to the recent conflict escalation in Ukraine, or you know your family has left Ukraine and crossed the border, please keep trying to contact them as this may be a temporary loss of contact as they transition to networks in other countries.

If you are unable to contact your family and you think they are still within the territory of Ukraine, we may be able to help you with locating or tracing your family or relatives.

Use the postcode locator above to contact your local British Red Cross branch. A team member from the international family tracing service will contact you as soon as possible.

Get help and support if you are a Ukrainian national in the UK. 

For British nationals and other nationals

If your family are British nationals, please consult the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.

For non-British nationals, please contact your respective embassy for advice.

How one family found each other again

When Faridun and his family were forced to leave Afghanistan, their search for safety kept them apart for four years.

Until one day last year, when one of his sons stepped into a Red Cross family tracing office.

Read their remarkable story.


An animated illustration shows a photograph of a happy family, the photograph torn into three parts

Tips for keeping in touch with loved ones

There are lots of things you, your family and friends can do to keep in contact and look out for each other.

This includes thinking ahead in case one of you gets ill.

  • Set up regular calls with family or friends, especially if you or they live alone.
  • Create a written list of your next of kin/close family or friends to be contacted in an emergency.  Include their names, phone numbers and addresses. Keep your emergency contact list in your wallet or purse.
  • Make sure your family members and emergency contacts know your current phone number and home address.
  • If you are living far from your family members, have the contact details of their neighbour or someone else who is in touch with your relatives.
  • Write the phone number of other family members and give it to your children so your children can contact them if you become ill.
  • If you are ill and need to go to hospital remember to take your phone and charger. 
  • Share these tips with others!

Other helpful tips:

  • If you have any prescription medication make sure it will be easy to find details of this and any allergies, for example with your emergency contact list.
  • Have you discussed your wishes with your family members and emergency contacts, if you were seriously ill due to coronavirus?
  • We have worked with Doctors of the World and other organisations to produce information on coronavirus in multiple languages.  

Have you used this service before?

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