How to apply

Before we are able to become involved in searching for a relative, we ask that an application form is submitted. You can download and print the application form, or request this by post by contacting us by telephone or email. It is often helpful if we have the opportunity to discuss your particular request in advance of your submitting your application so that we can assess if enquiries can be made in certain countries outside of the United Kingdom.

Our caseworkers need certain essential information about the person being sought:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth or exact age and country of birth
  • Last known address or location (if outside the United Kingdom, please contact us first to check we can make enquiries in that country).

We use the latest search techniques as well as those developed over our many years of family tracing experience in order to begin the process of locating and contacting your relative. Much of our work is via correspondence and researching the internet. We also draw on support from The Salvation Army churches and social centres in the UK and some other territories.

Our first contact with the person sought is often made by letter with an assurance that personal information will not be disclosed to any other party unless permission is granted. They will be told the identity of the person seeking contact with them, and they will be given options for contact. If there is hesitation about having direct contact in the first instance, relatives may correspond via the Family Tracing Service until trust is established. Whatever the decision of the person sought, this will be fully respected.

Every case is different and searches can take anything from a few days to a year or more to complete. We cannot guarantee that we will be successful in finding your relative but will of course let you know as soon as there is news to report, whatever the outcome.

Because of data protection legislation and the confidential nature of our work, we are unable to provide details of our tracing procedures but we will ensure that our cases are regularly reviewed and all suitable enquiries placed.

Anita and Marion Salvation Army family tracing

We helped reunite Anita and Marion after 12 years


How to apply

If you live outside the United Kingdom or The Republic of Ireland, please first contact us so that we can advise if you should commence your enquiry with the support of our Family Tracing Service in your country of residence. We have colleagues in some other territories who are ready to discuss your enquiry and provide local support. This applies even if the person sought is thought to be living in the United Kingdom.

If you are a resident of the United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland or The Channel Islands, please refer to our How To Apply section to see the options available to commence an application. If you would prefer to speak to us first, please call (+44) 020 7367 4747 or send your enquiry to our maildrop at We will be pleased to review your request.

If you want to apply to trace your relative via The Family Tracing Service, please download and print our application form. Once you have filled in the details and signed the data protection statement, return it for our consideration at the address given on the form. Please do make sure you have read the Frequently Asked Questions which are contained with the form and enclosed the relevant documents and registration fee. Alternatively, you may call or write to our office to request that an application form is sent by post. 

We request a registration fee of £45.00 for each person sought. For those whose only income is state pension or other state support (evidence should be supplied), the fee is £25.00. The registration fee helps towards the initial set up costs and verification checks which are sometimes necessary. It is not a service fee and does not guarantee a positive outcome. Please include the registration fee when submitting your completed application form. If for any reason we are unable to commence a search on your behalf, you will be informed in writing and your fee will not be processed. 

Once your application has been assessed you will receive a letter or email indicating the next steps. If your case is accepted, your registration fee will be processed and a caseworker will write to you with an individual reference number and their own contact details.

What we do - family tracing

Find out more about how we reunite families

Finding people

Relatives looking for me. What if I'm the sought after person?

Family tracing contact

Our details to get in touch and reconnect with family

Family tracing

We help to reconcile family members who have lost contact and help rebuild these relationships