Joining the French Foreign Legion
THIS IS AN INFORMATION PAGE!
I am NOT a recruiting officer of the French Foreign Legion and this is NOT a recruiting website of the Foreign Legion.
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
(for more detailed information about the age limit see: What is the age limit for joining the French Foreign Legion exactly?)
- to have a valid ID – the presentation of any identity cards (on current validity) delivered by the State of membership of the candidate is asked so as to facilitate the process of selection and recruitment (ID card, passport, driving licences, diplomas of state)
- 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 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 in all places for at least 5 years
What does NOT matter:
- your knowledge of the French language doesn’t matter
- your origins doesn’t matter
- your nationality doesn’t matter
- your religion 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
- Sports 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%
- if you have vision problems, please read Eyesight: French Foreign Legion vision requirements
- 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
- 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)
- valuables, jewellery
You MUST NOT take with you:
- weapons: gun, knife…
- car or motorcycle keys
- house keys
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 Foreign Legion’s recruiting centers have to be open 24/7/365 (yes, all year long) officially. However, whatever is stated on the Legion official website, enlisting in the Legion during Monday to Friday between 8h-17h 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 (that means 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. It takes from 2 to 5 weeks.
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 centres:
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 center before starting a selection in Aubagne (yes, there are both preselection and selection center in Aubagne).
Getting a visa to France
Traveling and visa expenses (IF needed) are YOUR responsibility.
To get a visa (IF needed) to travel to France, see France Diplomatie – Getting a visa.
The page is in English and contains all the information you need for.
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.
Pay examples (after various deductions, excluding social security deduction):
|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 Foreign Legion?
A: No. Most candidates do not speak French. However, it will not be amiss to speak a little bit of French language.
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 Legion?
A: After finishing your four-month basic training, you are free and allowed to leave your military base during your free time.
4. Q: How about using mobile phones, notebook computers?
A: After finishing your four-month basic training, you are allowed to buy them and use 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.
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: November 2014