Red Notices, INTERPOL, and Diffusions FAQ’s Part 1

by | Aug 5, 2022 | extradition, Interpol Red Notices and Extradition, US extradition

Q1. What exactly is INTERPOL?

INTERPOL is an international organization that assists international police cooperation by offering common databases and communication channels. Red Notices (Q3) and Diffusions permit the dissemination of information about wanted individuals, which is one of their primary functions.

Q2. The National Central Bureau is a government agency responsible for coordinating and coordinating all national activities.

A National Central Bureau (NCB) is a division of a country’s police that shares information with INTERPOL. In most cases, this department of the police will be responsible for international collaboration.

Q3. What exactly is a Red Notice?

A Red Notice is an INTERPOL electronic alert issued at the request of an NCB (see Q2). It is recorded in INTERPOL’s databases and can be accessed by law enforcement and immigration officials worldwide.

A Red Notice’s goal is to “seek the location of a wanted person and his/her custody, arrest, or restriction of movement for the purposes of extradition, surrender, or other legal action.” A Red Notice alerts law enforcement personnel in one country that authorities in another country are attempting to apprehend a particular individual.

An individual’s name, date of birth, nationality, and photographs are included in a Red Notice. It also has a summary of the charge for which the individual is “wanted,” as well as a description of the activities they are allegedly responsible for.

Q4. What exactly is a Diffusion?

A Diffusion is also an alert that alerts law enforcement agencies that a foreign nation demands the arrest of a particular individual. It varies from a Red Notice in that the country itself circulates it through INTERPOL’s channels rather than publishing it at the country’s request. Nonetheless, diffusion and Red Notices can have similar impacts.

Q5. Can I travel if I am subject to a Red Notice or Diffusion?

If you are subject to a Red Notice / Diffusion, there is a high likelihood that you may be apprehended at home and when traveling. In many countries, border officers are required to arrest individuals subject to Red Notices; hence, you may be detained upon arrival or exit at an airport. Similarly, in other nations, hotels may transmit guest information to the local police, who will check the identities against INTERPOL databases, which could also lead to your arrest.

Q6. I believe I may have received a Red Notice or Diffusion. How do I discover?

6.1 Can I find out by conducting an online search?

You can view the INTERPOL website’s ‘wanted persons’ section at This page contains excerpts from some Red Notices, but not all.

If your name appears on this page, it will also provide a very general description of the crime you want, such as “stealing.” You must follow one of the other techniques specified in this Note to receive more precise information.

However, if you do not appear on this page, this is not conclusive; only a select number of Red Notices appear on this page. The remainder is only accessible through INTERPOL’s regional networks, which are only visible to national law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, if you are subject to a Diffusion, this information will never appear on the INTERPOL website.

6.2 May I request that the police in my nation check INTERPOL’s data on my behalf?

Some individuals with whom FTI has spoken were able to gather information by contacting the authorities in their home country. There may not be a formal mechanism for this, but individuals have obtained responses informally in certain instances.

You should be aware. However, the police may not be permitted to consult INTERPOL databases and provide you with information. In addition, if the police notify you that there is no information on file, this is not conclusive because they may not have access to the pertinent INTERPOL database.

You may also be able to make a request utilizing your country’s “data protection” regulations. In the European Union, member states are obligated to establish access methods for personal information maintained in government files. However, these statutes have exceptions for law enforcement officials. Regarding this, you should see a lawyer in your nation.

6.3 May I obtain information directly from INTERPOL?

You may seek access to your file from the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (‘CCF’). The CCF is a panel of data protection specialists that handles requests from persons desiring to access or challenge information about them included in INTERPOL’s files.

Any request you submit to the CCF must satisfy the “admissibility conditions” (see Q7 below).

The mailing address is:

The INTERPOL Commission for the Control of Files (CCF)

200 Quai Charles de Gaulle

69006 Lyon, France

Note that indicating the CCF as the recipient on your mailing is crucial. Mail addressed to INTERPOL (which has the same address) may be opened by INTERPOL’s General Secretariat and utilized for police cooperation, i.e., it may be entered into databases and made available to NCBs.

Q7. What are the “admission requirements” of the CCF?

Your request must meet the following standards for the CCF to evaluate it (details are available at’s-files):

It must be an original letter with a signature; AND


  • It must include a copy of an identification document. Although not specified by the guidelines, FTI suggests a passport, identification card, or driver’s license; AND


  • It is vital to add a power of attorney if you want someone else to write on your behalf (a model is provided with this Note). The original, not a copy, of this document, must be included with your letter; AND


  • Additionally, you must complete and submit the Access Request Form (available at the link above). The section requesting justification indicates “request for access as a matter of right under Article 18 RPD.”

Q8. What information should I provide with my CCF request?

A request for access to your personal information in INTERPOL’s files must also declare that the request is being made according to Article 18 of the Rules for the Processing of Data.

This section authorizes you to make the request, and you are not required to “justify” or explain your desire to acquire access to your personal information. You have the right to request it. The only caveat is that the CCF must only consider a request if the individual has reasonable grounds to believe that INTERPOL’s files contain information about them.

FTI proposes including no more than one sentence to explain why you believe you may be subject to a Red Notice or Diffusion (see Interpol request letter and Information application forms– Model Access Request No. 1).

Q9. Will I receive a confirmation? When?

Yes. If your request satisfies the admissibility standards (see Q7), the CCF will send you a response similar to the following:

We’ve received your letter dated [date] addressed to the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files. Insofar as you have given the requisite documentation, your request is admissible. We will keep you apprised of any subsequent developments.

Rules stipulate that the CCF must acknowledge the request within one month. In recent years, however, FTI has seen these initial communications appear within a week or two.

Q10. Must the CCF provide me with access to INTERPOL’s files?

No. When the CCF receives a request of this nature, it must obtain authorization from the NCB of the relevant country before disclosing any information to you. According to INTERPOL’s guidelines, information on its files belongs to the NCB that provides it to INTERPOL. The NCB is consequently able to instruct the CCF not to release the data, or even if the data exists. You may thus receive the following response:

‘In application of the principles of national sovereignty and indirect access to information, on which INTERPOL’s applicable rules for processing information are based, the Commission is not authorized to disclose whether or not there is any information in INTERPOL’s files about the subject of the request, or to permit access to such information if it exists, unless it obtains the necessary authorization from the appropriate authorities of any countries concerned b.

However, the NCB has not permitted the Commission to reveal whether or not INTERPOL’s files contain any information about you.’

Note that a response of this kind does not suggest that there is or is not any information on file.

It indicates that the CCF is not permitted to inform you either way. Nevertheless, if there is information in the file and the NCB does not object to the data being released to you, the CCF may answer as follows:

“The Commission has been authorized by the National Central Bureau of [country] to advise you that you are wanted under an arrest warrant issued by [relevant court] on [day].”

This arrest warrant is the foundation for a [Diffusion / Red Notice] issued against you based on the following facts:

The letter will also include a summary of the claim, which may be no more than a few lines long.

Equally, the NCB may agree to your being advised that no information is on file. We do not currently know how such a response might be phrased.