Find missing family
Get help finding missing relatives abroad through our international family tracing service if you have been separated by war, natural disaster or migration.
International family tracing service update
The British Red Cross is pleased to report that a phased service has now resumed for the International Family Tracing service.
We are currently prioritising our existing cases before fully re-opening the service to new referrals in the coming months. Please continue to check here for any updates.
If you are looking for family in Ukraine or Afghanistan, please see the relevant sections below.
Looking for relatives in Afghanistan affected by the recent earthquake?
If you have lost contact and are concerned about any family members following the earthquake on 22 June 2022, the Restoring Family Links service might be able to help.
Please do try to contact family members through your own means in the first instance.
If you are still unable to make contact, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide us with your full name, telephone number and current location in the UK. A team member from the International Family Tracing service will contact you as soon as possible to follow up.
For British nationals and other nationals
If you are concerned about British nationals, you should contact the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on 0207 008 1500.
If you are not a British national, please contact your respective Embassy.
How the international family tracing service works
Our free and confidential international family tracing service can help find 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
- send a message to your family (but not money or packages)
- get a certificate of detention for those who have been imprisoned.
We help families reconnect with loved ones who have lost contact because of an armed conflict, migration, and natural disaster. This includes finding partners of people who are not married and those looking for their same-sex partners.
We will need your consent to share your information when looking for your family.
Finding 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:
Please email email@example.com and provide us with your full name and telephone number. A team member from the International Family Tracing service will contact you as soon as possible.
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.
Find your local missing family service
What will happen at your appointment?
If you're ready to find missing family, you can search for your nearest international family tracing service to make an appointment.
In the appointment:
- We will ask questions about your relative and where you think they might be.
- We'll help you to fill out a form.
- If you can't speak English, we can provide an interpreter.
`We work with other Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations around the world to find people in their countries. Please remember that:
- It is likely there will be reduced capacity or ability for other Red Cross and Crescent Societies to respond to tracing enquiries due to global coronavirus restrictions. These will be 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 relative, 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. (This site is temporarily offline for maintenance, so please try it again later if needed.)
If you are a refugee, we may also be able to help you reunite with your family in the UK.
Changes to our service
Following government advice, we have now stopped all face-to-face appointments and have been supporting people on the phone or online where possible.
We are now only able to offer appointments by phone or video call. Please be assured that we are working hard to continue supporting people through this time, while managing the need to keep everyone safe.
Please keep checking this page for updates.
How to trace missing persons in Afghanistan
If you have family affected by the current situation in Afghanistan, our International Family Tracing service might be able to help.
If you know someone in the affected areas, please try to contact them in the usual way, such as by phone, social media or email.
If you cannot contact them in this way, please get in touch with your local Family Tracing office who may be able to help.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Afghanistan and the Afghan Red Crescent Society are now prioritising tracing requests linked to the situation from August 2021. (The ICRC site is temporarily offline for maintenance, so please try again later if needed.)
Please be aware that tracing is now suspended for new cases related to loss of contact before August 2021. We will post any further updates about tracing on this page.
How to get family out of Afghanistan
For information on how to request assistance for the evacuation of vulnerable family members in Afghanistan, and for the Afghan resettlement scheme, please visit the dedicated UK government web page.
This page gives information for British nationals and non-British nationals in Afghanistan, and for people who may be relocated to the UK under the Afghan Relocation scheme (ARAP).
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.
Looking for family or friends in Assab, Eritrea
We are now unable to send requests for tracing in and around the city of Assab. Please check this page regularly in case the situation changes.
Tips for keeping in touch during the coronavirus pandemic
There are lots of things you, your family and friends can do to keep in contact and look out for each other at this time.
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.