Joining the French Foreign Legion
This is NOT an official recruiting website of the French Foreign Legion. This is an information page.
So, how to join the French Foreign Legion? The ONLY solution to join the French Foreign Legion is to go to mainland France (in EUROPE) and knock on the door of one of the Foreign Legion recruiting centers (once you are in, free accommodation, food and clothing are immediately provided by the Legion).
There is NO OTHER WAY! No online applications, no letters of invitation, no French embassy’s documents are providing to join the French Foreign Legion. Keep in mind.
You will be enlisted as a single man, even if you are married. The first contract you sign up is for 5 years.
Entry Requirements to join the French Foreign Legion
What DOES matter:
- to be a man between 17.5 and 39.5 years – read more here: Age limits for joining the French Foreign Legion
- to have a valid ID (Identity document)
- ID Card or a Passport for recruits from the European Union (EU)
- PASSPORT for recruits from all over the world
- to have a birth certificate verified copy (translation into English or French languages prefered)
– confirmation of the certificate’s copy not older than 6 months while enlisting
– you are allowed to enlist in the Legion without the certificate as well, however, the document will simplify your engagement
- to be NOT wanted by Interpol (NO murders, NO drug trafficking…)
- to be physically fit to serve at all times and places all over the world for at least 5 years
- to have BMI between 20 and 30 – read more: Height and weight requirements for joining the French Foreign Legion
What does NOT matter:
- your citizenship (if you are a Brazilian, Indian, Russian, Japanese citizen etc…) doesn’t matter
- your race origin doesn’t matter
- your religion doesn’t matter
- your knowledge / ignorance of the French language doesn’t matter
- your educational background doesn’t matter
- your qualifications doesn’t matter
- your social status doesn’t matter
- your professional status doesn’t matter
- your marriage / marital status or family status doesn’t matter
- your military or non-military background doesn’t matter
Entry Tests of the French Foreign Legion
- Psycho-technical tests
- IQ tests
- Personality tests
- Luc leger (a rhythmic race, alternating 20 meters distance; running speed is determined by beeps at set intervals with increasing frequency – make at least 7 landings)
- Pull-ups (make at least 4 pull-ups)
- you will pass a medical visit
- be sure you have healthy teeth (or treated)
- maximum number of missing teeth between 4 and 6, depending on the value of the teeth
- masticatory coefficient (to have quite healthy teeth) greater than or equal to 40%
- provide all documents concerning medical surgery or a recent document describing that there is currently no sequelae
- provide medical documentation regarding previous serious illness and now healed (certificate healing / treatment)
- provide your health record if the existence of these
- for eyesight / vision problems, read here Eyesight: French Foreign Legion vision requirements
- Examples of causes of incapacity:
- overload weight
- a psychiatric disorder during treatment
- to have very poor eyesight (see the post linked above)
- bad hearing (you pass a sound hearing test – it tests your ears at different frequencies)
- total loss of a finger
- laxity (instability) of the knee
- recurrent dislocation of the patella
- hernia recovery with after-effects (recurrent hernia problems)
What to take with you to the French Foreign Legion
The number-one rule in packing for an enlistement to the Legion is to pack lightly.
You HAVE to take with you:
- all documents already stated above (ID card, …)
- 3 T-shirts, 3 briefs and 3 pairs of socks
- a pair of trainer/sneaker
- about 10-50 euros
- vanity case/toiletries:
- soap/shower gel
- razor + lather
- bath towel
- bath shoes/slippers
You did NOT HAVE to take with you:
- big amount of money (300+ euros/400+ USD)
- credit cards
- valuables, jewellery
You MUST NOT take with you:
- weapons: gun, knife…
- car or motorcycle keys
- house keys
Getting a visa to France
Traveling and visa (if needed) expenses are YOUR responsibility.
If you need a visa to travel to France, apply for a tourist visa (or a short stay visa).
To get the visa, see France Diplomatie – Getting a visa. The page is in English and contains all the information you need for.
Tattoo and the French Foreign Legion
For more detailed information about the tattoo policy in the Foreign Legion see:
French Foreign Legion Tattoo and Tattoo Policy
Enlisting in the French Foreign Legion
The whole recruiting & selection process takes (in most cases) 2 – 5 weeks. The process starts when you pass your passport to a serving legionnaire in a recruiting center (either an information office or a preselection center – see the list below).
The French Foreign Legion accepts recruits from all over the world. The Foreign Legion’s recruiting centers have to be open 24/7/365 (yes, all year long) officially. However, whatever is stated on the Legion’s official website, enlisting in the Legion during Monday to Friday between 08:00 AM – 05:00 PM (08.00 – 17.00 h) will be a good option for you. The smaller recruiting centers might be closed during nights.
You can be enlisted in mainland France only! There is no other way.
You must travel at your own expense to continental France (in Europe) and knock on the door of one of the Legion’s recruiting centers (see the list below) to be enlisted in. This is the ONLY solution how to join the Foreign Legion!
NO online applications, NO letters of invitation, NO documents at French embassies around the world are providing to join the Legion.
Once you are enlisted (the same day you knocked on the door), the recruiting & selection process starts.
Free accommodation, food and clothing are provided by the Legion during the whole recruiting & selection process.
You will be enlisted as a single man, even if you are married.
The first contract you sign up is for 5 years.
Where to enlist in the French Foreign Legion: Recruiting centers
You can be enlisted in one of the 11 Foreign Legion recruiting centers, which are composed of 2 preselection centers and 9 information offices. Once you are in, free accommodation, food and clothing are immediately provided by the Legion.
Addresses and map location of the French Foreign Legion Recruiting centers
See addresses, contacts and map location of each of the 11 Foreign Legion’s recruiting centers, the only places, where you can be enlisted in the French Foreign Legion:
Foreign Legion preselection centrers:
Foreign Legion information offices belonged to Paris (recruits are sent for free to Paris in 1-7 days):
Information offices belonged to Aubagne (recruits are sent for free to Aubagne in 1-7 days):
You may stay 3-14 days in preselection centers before starting a selection process in Aubagne (yes, there are both a preselection and a selection center in Aubagne).
Career in the French Foreign Legion
Any legionnaire can build a career not on school diplomas or professional or civilian qualifications, but by taking military or technical examinations throughout his service. If you have good potential, if you are motivated, hard working and serious, the following careers are possible.
- tank driver
- machine gunner
- anti-tank rocket launcher
- armoured vehicle driver
- and other…
- data-processing support
- computer support
- and other…
- radio operator
- radio mechanic
- telephone exchange operator
- and other…
- light vehicle driver
- truck driver
- articulated truck driver
- bus driver
- dredge driver
- and other…
- small arms expert
- and other…
- data processing specialist
- physical education instructor
- graphic designer
- and other…
25% of legionnaires will became the non-commissioned officers (N.C.O.). All NCOs in the Legion started as simple legionnaires.
10% of Legion officers started their career as simple legionnaires and worked up through the ranks.
Pay in the French Foreign Legion
A legionnaire is clothed, fed, accomodated, and medically cared for. Your salary also depends upon your rank, qualifications and time of service.
Foreign Legion pay examples (monthly earnings; various tax deductions already included):
|RANK||SERVICE||1°RE||2°REP *||3°REI **||13°DBLE ***|
|Legionnaire||10 months||1205 €||1460 €||1433 €||3567 €|
|Caporal||03 years||1226 €||1480 €||1452 €||3626 €|
|Caporal-chef||10 years||1303 €||1607 €||1600 €||3939 €|
|Sergent||07 years||1351 €||1648 €||1650 €||3929 €|
|Sergent-chef||10 years||1779 €||2095 €||1945 €||4186 €|
|Adjudant||17 years||2007 €||2140 €||2180 €||4748 €|
|Adjudant-chef||21 years||2078 €||2427 €||2477 €||4818 €|
- * Parachute bonus
- ** Overseas allowance (French territories)
- *** Overseas allowance (abroad)
Keep in mind, that the Pay examples, dating back to 2010, could be changed…
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
1. Q: Do I need to speak French before joining the French Foreign Legion?
A: No. Most candidates do not speak French.
2. Q: How about contacting my family?
A: You are allowed to contact your family once you have started your basic training in Castelnaudary, by mail or payphone.
3. Q: How about evenings, weekends, holidays in the Foreign Legion?
A: After finishing your four-month basic training, you are allowed to leave your military base during your free time.
4. Q: How about using mobile phones, laptop or notebook computers?
A: After finishing your four-month basic training, you are allowed to buy them and use them during your free time.
5. Q: How about annual leave (vacation/holiday)?
A: The Foreign Legion offers you 45 working days of annual leave (vacation/holiday) per year.
6. Q: How about the visa and flight tickets for joining the Legion?
A: It is your responsibility solely to find, pay and obtain all required travel documents and visas (tourist or short stay visa) to go to France. The Legion will provide you no refunds, no money, no scholarships, no online applications, no letters of invitation, no French embassy’s documents to get to France.
7. Q: How about the Second (or Third) chance for re-entering the Selection process?
A: In some cases, the Foreign Legion offers you to return back, if you failed entry tests during its selection process in Aubagne. If the Legion give you the second (or third) chance, you receive a paper document with a title “INAPTE TEMPORAIRE” stating that you can return back after 3, 6, 12 or 18 months. Who is able to return back and after how many months it will be, that is up to the Legion solely. If the Legion do not give you another chance, you receive a paper document with a title “INAPTE DEFINITIF”. That means the Legion is closed forever for you.
The French Foreign Legion offers you a chance to start a new life… Good luck!
Légion étrangère, the Legion’s official recruiting website
Joining Page’s Last Update: August 2015