Red Cross

helping to restore contact between families separated by armed conflict, disaster or migration

The British Red Cross delivers an international family tracing and message service aimed at restoring and maintaining family links between close relatives separated as a result of armed conflict, natural or other disasters.

International family tracing

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, 15 per cent of our caseload still relates to relatives missing as a result of the Second World War.

How we work on your case

If you would like to use the international family tracing services, we can arrange an appointment for you at your nearest Red Cross office.

We will help you fill in a form which asks a lot of questions, including your and your family member’s details, your relationship to the sought person, the last known address of your loved one and how you lost contact. We need as much information as you can give us to help us find your missing relatives.

We will only share the information you give us with your permission. No one will be able to find out from us where you live. You do not have to add your own address to the forms if you do not want to. You can use the British Red Cross as your contact address.

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.

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

Contact information

For the British Red Cross tracing service