How to find a person in Germany: 10 ways to search for people in Germany by their first and last name
On this page you will learn how to search for a person in Germany by their first name and surname, photo, phone number, address or e-mail address. You will learn which government agencies and international organizations can help you in your search, as well as what tools on the Internet can be used to search for friends, relatives and acquaintances.
§ Before starting a search: what information should be collected about a person searched for
Before you start searching for a person with whom you have lost contact or who is missing, try to collect as much information about him/ her as possible. It is most likely that the remained documents, photographs, and letters, as well relatives of the given person and the people who used to know him/ her, will provide you with a sufficient number of data that you may need in the course of searching. In particular, try to prepare the data listed below:
- Name, patronymic and surname (in the native and German languages). Most probably, the person being searched for is known in Germany under the name and surname, which are written in German and Latin. Therefore, transliterate the name and surname in different transliteration systems. Thus you will have several options for spelling the given person’s name and surname for the further search.
- Photograph of the person being searched for. As there are many people in the world with the same name and surname, the photograph can be helpful in the search; besides, some services are focused on searching for people by their photo.
- Address of their latest location. At least, you should know the federated state of Germany, where the given person once used to reside.
- Contact details: telephone number, e-mail address, social network profile, nickname (chat name, user name), screen name in messengers, and others.
- Date and place of birth: that are needed for the search in the register of people as registered for residence.
- Any details, which would help to identify the person being searched for or his /her location.
§ Requesting data from the register of people arriving in Germany
In Germany, every person who has a temporary or permanent registration is entered in the state register of residence-registered persons (in German: Melderegister), a register/log of registration. So, information on the persons, who reside, work, or have received the refugee status in Germany, is fixed in the given register. Any person may receive information (in German: Melderegisterauskunft) from this register on any other person entered therein. In particular, the register contains the following details: name and surname, date of birth, gender, nationality, address, passport details, and others. Apart from the updated information, the archive data, too, are stored in the register. The given register is not unified for the entire Germany, as each municipality or land of Germany has their centralized register; therefore, while addressing the respective institution, it is necessary to know at least, in which land of Germany the person being searched for used to live.
In Germany, there is no unified register of residence-registered persons, and any land(federated state) has their centralized register. Therefore, in order to request the relevant information, it is necessary to know in which land the missing person resided.
In order to receive information from the register of residence-registered persons, it is necessary to fill out the form and pay the duty. The value of the duty and the terms for obtaining the information depend on the land of Germany providing such information from their register. For instance, the payment for receiving information via the Internet from the register in Berlin as of 2020 amounted to 5 euros irrespectively of whether the person was or was not found. With personal application rather than via the Internet, the price would grow to 10 euros, and for receiving the information from the archive – up to 30 euros. Some institutions, like the one in Berlin, can provide the said information via the Internet, while others can do it only when personally contacting this agency.
While applying to the responsible institution, it is necessary to know the name and surname, as well as the address or birth date of the missing person.
In the list below you will find the links to official online portals for obtaining information from registers of registration by land of Germany:
Institutions in the German lands(federated states) responsible for providing information from the residence-registered persons register
- Register of residence-registered persons in Berlin
- Register of residence-registered persons in Baden-Württemberg
- Register of residence-registered persons in Bayern
- Register of residence-registered persons in Brandenburg
- Register of residence-registered persons in Bremen
- Register of residence-registered persons in Hamburg
- Register of residence-registered persons in Mecklenburg-Vorpommer
- Register of residence-registered persons in Rheinland-Pfalz
- Register of residence-registered persons in Saarland
- Register of residence-registered persons in Sachsen
- Register of residence-registered persons in Sachsen-Anhalt
- Register of residence-registered persons in Schleswig-Holstei
- Register of residence-registered persons in Thüringen
§ Contacting the residence-registered persons register through intermediaries, online services
Apart from personally applying for information from the register, you can also use the services of various companies, which for a fee apply on your behalf to obtain information from the register and transmit it to you. Of course, this is more expensive than in case of directly contacting the responsible institutions. Below you will find a list of companies involved in obtaining information from the residence-registered persons registers throughout Germany. If you make a search from a country other than Germany, it is most likely that you will be concerned about the question of how you can pay up the request for information. While looking through offers of the firms below, pay attention to the available methods of payment being acceptable for them.
- adressermittlung.de - in Germany and Austria
- suche-nach-personen.de - in Germany
- melderegister-auskunft.de - in Germany
- supercheck.de - in Germany
- andreas-loeb.de - companies search by different countries
§ Search services of international organizations and private companies
Support in the search of refugees and missing people is offered by various international organizations, which usually do not charge any payment for their assistance in the search.
The best known organization – the Red Cross – has the service, which provides assistance in the search for people, who have been lost or missing in connection with wars, armed conflicts, catastrophes and natural disasters, as well as in connection with migration (including migration of ethnic German resettlers, late resettlers) to Germany. On the Red Cross web-page you may find such assistance(support) centers and address them with your request for the search.
Organizations assisting in the search for refugees and missing persons
|DRK Suchdienst |
|The Red Cross search service in Germany, with the website available in other languages as well|
|Restoring Family Links |
|Search for missing people in the countries of the world by their photographs – the Red Cross service|
|Initiative Vermisste Kinder |
|Organization of assistance in connection with the loss of children. Also round-the-clock phone help service: 116000|
|AMBER Alert |
|Organization of assistance in searching for missing children|
|International search service for missing relatives, a small fee is charged for the search.|
|International Tracing Service |
|International search service, located in Germany|
§ Search for a person in the phone book, in the telephone directory
Telephone services of Germany have their telephone books, which contain telephone numbers and sometimes addresses of private individuals. Each owner of a telephone number may prohibit publication of their number or personal information about themselves in the phone books in their telephone company. Therefore the search by telephone books is not by 100% reliable – like, inter alia, all other methods, but it would be worth trying such a search. Further on, we present the list of telephone books, by which the free search can be done.
Apart from the search by the surname and name, it is also possible to do the search and try to find a person by their telephone number. To this end, instead of the name and surname it is necessary to specify the known telephone number. Besides, search for the missing person by the telephone number is possible in the Internet search system, and for more details of such a search, see a dedicated page of our website.
Online phone books, directories of Germany
|Das Telefonbuch |
|The largest telephone directory throughout Germany with telephone numbers of private individuals|
|Das Örtliche |
|Search by telephone directories and company directories in Germany|
|Gelbe Seiten |
|Search in the largest catalogue, directory of companies and entrepreneurs of Germany|
|The 11880 telephone book|
§ Search through acquaintances, friends and relatives
While considering the methods of search for a missing person, we cannot but mention the possibility to turn to their acquaintances, friends and relatives, whom you know. Quite often using this very method helps to find the person you need. Consider the following options:
- Family members;
- Close and distant relatives;
- Friends of the missing person’s relatives;
- Close friends;
- Former co-employees and bosses;
- Close friends by the school;
- University mates;
- Former neighbours;
- Acquaintances in athletic or other clubs;
- Namesakes in the region of search;
- Other acquaintances.
Some of them may already know how to find the person you need, or has tried to find him/ her themselves, or may share some information about him/ her. Besides, once in a while, everyone would incidentally come across the former acquaintances and friends in the vast expanses of Internet.
§ Search for people through the Organizations of foreign diasporas in Germany
In Germany, there are many foreign-language associations, clubs, seminars, schools, artistic groups, and other organizations. By no means all foreign people in Germany are their members or attend the events by the foreign Diaspora organizations, although such events are quite popular. If you know that the missing person used to live or lives in a certain city of Germany, it makes sense to address the foreign Diaspora organizations, in the given city for the search purposes. The location of the Russian Diaspora organizations in the map of Germany can be helpful for you in selecting the appropriate institutions.
However, you should take into account the fact that under the EU laws being effective in Germany, processing and providing personal data to third parties is legally protected.
§ Search on German bulletin boards classified ads for missing persons
Besides, on the Internet in Germany, there is a large number of websites and bulletin boards, where users place their ads on the search for people, and these sections can be viewed for the search of the right person. However, most of such websites are well indexed by the Internet search engines, and therefore for the search by these websites, you can simply do a Google search, specifying the name and surname of the person you are looking for.
Another possibility to find a person in Germany is to post your free-of-charge ad on the search of a person on the abovementioned ad websites. The person being searched for may find this ad through the search systems, or can be found by the people who are aware of his / her location and would inform you respectively.
§ Lists of people missing or being searched for
You can view our list of people being searched for in Germany, in which it is possible to do the search by the person’s name and surname, or do such a search for people in Germany by photo, as well as by the list of people missing in Germany. Somebody may be already looking for the person you need and can share the relevant information. To place information about the person you need in our lists, go to the page where you can place your search ad free of charge.
§ Search for people through detective and specialized search-for-people agencies
In search of a person, you can also contact a detective agency that specializes in finding people. The list of detective agencies in Germany can be found on the Internet newspaper website and in the directory of lawyers in Germany.
Besides, there are many private agencies in Germany, which, for a fee, are engaged in finding people both in Germany and abroad. The list of these agencies is constantly changing, therefore, in order to obtain relevant information, it is better to do a search on Google using the word "Personensuchdienst".
§ Free online search for people
Apart from the ways to find people in Germany as cited above on this page, you can use the opportunities for free search for people via the Internet, irrespectively of the country of location. This option is described on a dedicated page of our website. In particular, the search for people on the Internet includes the features that follow:
- Registers/ logs of registration
- Search systems, engines
- Websites of search services
- Online telephone directories, books
- Social networks
- Search engines on social networks
- Instant messengers
- VoIP telephony
- People search engines on the Internet
- Web-based wanted registries of the people searched for
§ Useful links as to searching for people in Germany
- Bundesmeldegesetz (BMG) - Federal Registration Act
- Bundesdatenschutzgesetz (BDSG) - Federal Data Protection Act