IMPORTANT NOTE: Relocation of the Tracing Service Hamburg Office

IMPORTANT NOTE
We are moving

 

ملاحظة هامة: نقل مكتب هامبورغ لخدمات البحث عن المفقودين

ملاحظة هامة
ستجد هنا وصفًا لكيفية الوصول إلى الموقع الجديد لخدمة البحث عن المفقودين التابعة للصليب الأحمر الألماني في هامبورغ.

Trace the Face -
Photo-based online tracing Family Links Poster
Trace the Face -
also on Facebook 
Link to the international Tracing Service Network Family Links Network

GRC Tracing Service in your area:

FAQ (Ethnic German Repatriates)

Tracing people and documents
Reconstruction of family trees
Questions on the topic of Wysow
Personal consultation
Translation of documents
Letters of attorney in admission procedures
Questions regarding transportation for people in ill health
Questions regarding revised version of the BVFG – 10th BVFG Amendment Act
Stepchildren

Tracing people and documents

  • I am looking for my father, Brother, uncle etc. Can you help me?

    Reply:
    Generally speaking, yes. Due to our experience spanning over 70 years and thanks to the extensive archived records, we are especially competent when it comes to determining the place of residence of ethnic Germans (and of their non-German family members) from Eastern and South-eastern Europe (including the former GDR), who moved to Germany after the end of the Second World War and /or intended/intend to do so.

    In order to be able to check how we can help with other matters, we require more detailed information regarding the people you are searching for, such as surnames, first names, date of birth and last place of residence. These details can be submitted with your tracing inquiry.

  • We are looking for documents about our parents.

    Reply:
    Based on the documents and information available to us, we can certainly help and/or advise you if you are looking for documents regarding cases of naturalisation due to the war or acceptance permits to enter Germany. In other cases connected with the Second World War or the division of Germany, we have to check on a case by case basis whether we can offer help or at least provide advice.

  • I have a tracing request. However, I am not quite sure whether the GRC Tracing Service is responsible for this, although I have read all the information available.

    Reply:
    You are very welcome to write to us nonetheless and describe your tracing request in as much detail as possible. Should we not be able to help as it does not come under our humanitarian mandate, we will still send you further information on how to progress your case.

Reconstruction of family trees

  • Can you help me with the reconstruction of my family tree?

    Reply:
    Unfortunately not. Our mandate is to trace missing people who have lost contact with their families due to wars, armed conflicts, escape, displacement, resettlement, migration movements and disasters as well as the reunification of families across borders separated by events such as these. Ancestry research is not one of our original tasks. Please approach a genealogical society in this case and find out about the costs involved before submitting an application.

Questions on the topic of Wysow

  • How long does it take to obtain the free Wysow translation from you?

    Reply:
    Approximately three days from receipt by the Hamburg office of the GRC Tracing Service. Even quicker in urgent cases. Please call 040 / 4 32 02 – 172 in individual cases.

    A Wysow application has already been submitted for my family members. At that time they were not able to emigrate but now want to. Will their previous application help at all?

    Reply:
    No, not necessarily. The former legal and historical/political requirements were very different to what they are today. It would be necessary to check and advise on a case by case basis!

Personal consultation

  • When can I get an appointment for a personal consultation?

    Reply:
    YYou can reach us at the Hamburg office during the following opening hours:

    Monday to Thursday: 08.30 - 11.30 hours and 13.00 - 14.30 hours
    Friday: 08.30 to 11.30 hours

    Other times are possible after prior arrangement by telephone.
    Address and contact details GRC Tracing Service Hamburg office.

Questions regarding the translation of documents

  • I am sending you the translation of the doctor’s certificate (for transportation on medical grounds or expedition in the written admission procedure). Is that sufficient?

    Reply:
    No. The best thing to do is always to send the relevant original document from the country of origin.

  • Do you also translate employment records, birth certificates and other documents from the successor states of the former USSR?

    Reply:
    No. We only translate documents directly connected with our tasks; these include Wysow and doctor’s certificates. For translation of other documents, please approach a certified translator local to you; please find out what the cost will be before placing an order.

Representation in the admission procedure

  • Do you take on the role of representative within the written admission procedure?

    Reply:
    Unfortunately not. If you have nobody to do this for you in Germany, you can correspond directly with the Federal Administration Office (BVA) even without an official representative. It just takes a little longer.

Questions regarding transportation for sick people

  • My relative is elderly and seriously ill, he is in receipt of a notice of admission, but can no longer under take the journey to Germany alone. Can you help?

    Reply:
    If relevant doctors’ certificates prove that your relative cannot undertake the journey alone, there are various options available to support him. Write to or call the Hamburg office of the GRC Tracing Service and describe your case. We will advise you on a case by case basis and if appropriate assist you with arranging transportation for your sick relative.

Questions regarding the revised version of the BVFG – 10th BVFG Amendment Act

  • I have heard that new regulations regarding resettlement to Germany have been in force since September 2013. What are these?

    Reply:
    As has always been the case, an applicant for repatriation based on being an ethnic German must at least be descended from a German parent or grandparent, be committed to German nationality and be able to hold a simple conversation in German. It is no longer required that knowledge of German was acquired within the family; knowledge of German acquired outside the family is also sufficient.
    A commitment to German nationality can – as before – be evidenced by means of an express declaration (= entry in civil status documents such as internal passport or birth certificates for children) or be proven by demonstrating that the knowledge of the language sufficient to hold a simple conversation was acquired within the family.
    In addition, there is now the option of proving commitment to German nationality by submitting a certificate regarding mastery of the German language in accordance with level 1 of the Joint European Reference Framework for Languages.

  • I would like to include my offspring in my application for admission - are there new regulations for this as well?

    Reply:
    Yes, since the amendments to the Act, there are no time restrictions for the inclusion of offspring and they can be added ay any time without there needing to be hardship reasons. However, the offspring to be added must still possess a knowledge of German corresponding to level 1 of the Joint European Reference Framework for Languages. Knowledge of the language can be proven either by a certificate from the Goethe-Institut or by means of a so-called "language status test" at a German agency abroad (embassy, general consulate).

  • What happens if the language test/language status test reveal my language knowledge to be inadequate?

    Reply:
    Since the amendments to the Act, it is possible to repeat the "language test" for ethnic German repatriates carried out by the Federal Administration Office at various agencies abroad, also the so-called "language status test" for family members to be included.

  • Does my son/daughter also have to prove his/her knowledge of German?

    Reply:
    Knowledge of German need only be proven by applicants for acceptance who have attained full age; offspring who are minors are exempt from this. They will be included in the admission notice for their parent with proof of language knowledge.
    However, if they resettle after the minor attains full age, the inclusion becomes invalid.

  • Are there any exceptions in terms of proof of German knowledge for ethnic German repatriates?

    Reply:
    The ethnic German repatriate does not have to submit any proof of his/her knowledge of German if he/she cannot possess such capability due to a physical, mental or emotional illness or disability. A lot depends on a detailed description of the case and the provision of necessary proof. As part of its advice to you, the GRC Tracing Service will be happy to assist you with all the steps necessary.
    We can advise how to proceed. Sometimes there are several solutions of which one deserves to be favoured depending on the niceties of the family situation. It is precisely in hardship cases that both these niceties and the various legal requirements and consequences need to be taken into consideration. The foundation of this is a truthful consultation.

  • My relative has received a rejection notice from the BVA. What should I do?

    Reply:
    Please call us on 040/ 4 32 01- 179 or 174 or contact a tracing service staff worker in the district or regional branch responsible for your area. Every case is different. The important thing is always that the stipulated statutory time periods must be complied with, so get in contact with us immediately.

  • My application for admission was rejected several years ago. Can I reapply?

    Reply:
    After the amendments to the Act, it may well be possible to instigate a successful reapplication of a definitively or legally closed procedure. Such a procedure is not entirely straightforward. In a case such as the above, please contact a Tracing Service support centre or the Hamburg office of the GRC Tracing Service, where the details will be explained to you.

Stepchildren

  • Our family includes an underage child from a previous relationship of my wife/husband. We would like this child to come with us to Germany. Is this possible?

    Reply:
    This is possible with single underage (step) children, within the framework of the BVFG as a potential person as defined by § 8 (2) of the BVFG. Please note that the resettlement must be completed before the child reaches the age of consent. If this is no longer possible, a resettlement together is virtually impossible. An individual consultation will explain other requirements, details and alternatives.