Missing persons abroad
The local police in the country the person is missing in are responsible for investigating when someone goes missing abroad. What the local police will do varies widely from country to country.
The UK police can sometimes get involved when UK citizens or residents go missing abroad. What you should do to contact us depends on whether you are in the UK or if you are abroad.
Report the person as missing to the UK police. If you think they are in immediate danger, call 999. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.
Otherwise you can call 101, or some forces let you report a missing person online.
The police force for wherever the missing person usually lives is responsible for reports of missing abroad cases.
If the missing person does not live in the UK, the force for anywhere in the UK where they have family can take the report.
If you call 999 or 101 you will be put through to your local force, who can take details and pass them to the correct local force.
- Report the person as missing to the police in the country the person went missing in.
- Report them missing to the UK police force for the area they usually live in, either online if you can, or by phoning them.
If the missing person does not live in the UK, you can report them missing to the local force for wherever they have family.
You cannot call 999 or 101 from outside the UK.
The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office
As well as contacting the police, you should also contact the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on +44 (0)207 008 1500.
Ask for consular support for the country the person is missing in.
What happens when you report someone missing abroad
The investigation and search is the responsibility of the local police in the country the person is missing in.
The UK police will contact the local police via the European SIRENE system or via Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organization).
Advice and support
LBT Global (formerly The Lucie Blackman Trust) is a charity which supports people looking for someone missing abroad.
They can help you:
- find someone to talk to for support, like families who have been through a similar experience
- get to the country the person is missing from, to look for them or work with the local police
- deal with the foreign police
- work with the UK police, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Interpol or other authorities
- create a publicity campaign
If you are in the UK the charity Missing People can also give you emotional support.
The UK Missing Persons Unit has a list of missing persons organisations you can contact in many countries around the world.
Your local MP may also be able to help deal with local authorities.