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Questions and answers on finding relatives who are missing worldwide

Here you will find some frequently asked questions and answers from the GRC Tracing Service on the subject of international tracing.



In which cases can the GRC Tracing Service help?

The GRC Tracing Service can help you if you live in Germany and

  • you have lost contact with your relatives due to an armed conflict, a natural disaster, flight, expulsion or (recent) migration,
  • you suddenly cannot reach elderly or sick relatives abroad and are not able to conduct personal enquiries,
  • you wish to send a Red Cross Message to relatives whom you cannot contact by post, telephone or e-mail,
  • you have lost contact with your relatives due to other humanitarian crises.

Are you looking for a relative but do not live in Germany?

Please contact the Tracing Service of the Red Cross/Red Crescent in the country where you are staying.

In which cases can the GRC Tracing Service not help?

The GRC Tracing Service cannot help in the following cases:

  • You lost contact with your relatives on account of a family dispute.
  • You are looking for your biological parents, children or siblings on account of an adoption. You can find further information here: Familie International Frankfurt e.V., contact:
  • You are looking for your (former) partner and your child on account of child abduction. You can find further information here: International Social Service, contact:

  • A member of your family has disappeared without trace and you are worried a crime has been committed. In such cases contact the police or in foreign countries the respective embassy or consulate.
  • You are looking for family members or want to apply for documents abroad on account of legal issues (e.g. divorce, inheritance matters).
  • You have lost contact with friends.
  • You want to make a tracing request on behalf of another person. Please note: A search must be initiated by the searching family member himself.
  • You would like to do genealogical research.
  • You are looking for missing relatives and do not live in Germany. Please contact the Tracing Service of the Red Cross/Red Crescent in the country where you are staying.

Contacting us

How can I contact you?

You can reach us:

Monday through Friday, 

Phone: +49 (0)89 / 68 07 73 -111

E-mail:  tracing(at)

Please use our online contact form to get in touch with us.

Search duration

How long does it take until you can share the results of the search with me?

Unfortunately, we cannot make any statement about the duration of a search in advance. Every search is individual. We are also dependent on the support of the International Tracing Service Network abroad. The personnel capacities and tracing possibilities vary within this network.

Tracing options

How do you search for people?

Depending on the individual case and the country in which you are searching, the following tracing options are available to us:

  • Searching with the help of authorities (e.g. residents' registration offices, central registers of persons)
  • Locating the last known residence of a missing person
  • Searching with photos on “
  • Searching in databases of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and delegations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Personal data and other information

What information do I need to provide in the scope of a tracing request?

We need basic information about the person who is searching and the person who is being sought:

Name, date of birth, place of birth, last known residence etc. We also need information about when, where and how the contact was lost.

Exactly which information is important depends on the respective tracing case. You can discuss all important issues in person at the GRC Tracing Service support centre assigned to you. You will also receive assistance in filling out the necessary forms. We will treat your personal data strictly confidential and only for the purpose of finding your missing relatives.

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