How to join the French Foreign Legion

How to join the French Foreign Legion

Any man aged between 17 and 40 (although under-18s must have parental permission) can join the French Foreign Legion. You must travel to France for enlistment. According to its recruitment website, “Whatever your origins, nationality or religion might be, whatever qualifications you may or may not have, whatever your social or professional status might be, whether you are married or single, the French Foreign Legion offers you a chance to start a new life.”

You can join either under your own name or under a “declared identity” which you will retain throughout your service. This is to allow anonymity for those who want to turn over a new leaf. In the past the Legion was extremely relaxed about the provenance of its new recruits – however there are now background checks to ensure that wanted criminals are not given sanctuary. If you are approved after your medical, security screening and ” motivational checks” you will be eligible to sign your contract for a minimum of five years service. Your only realistic options for departure before then are death or desertion. You are entitled to 45 days’ leave a year and will receive a starting salary of £723 a month

[ Editor’s note: 15 August 2007 – I am closing comments on this posting since this blog is not actually a FFL recruiting website. Read the article linked at the top of this posting, guys. AM ]

28 Replies to “How to join the French Foreign Legion”

  1. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    Giving up on yak-herding as an alternative career, and aiming for the Foreign Legion instead?

  2. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    Nooo… I still feel that it would be a more important contribution to humanity to search for the wild yaks of the Scottish Western Isles, and catalogue their existence for the British Museum.

  3. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    I assume these are yaks that roam near distilleries?

  4. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    To the best of my knowledge there has never been any serious research into the islands’ native yak population; it might require spending some extensive period of time in the area in order to research possible sightings.

  5. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    Is it as simple as going to France and apllying? Because i have all the requirements covered and are planning to go.

  6. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    A worried father whose 18 year old son has just left for Aubagne to join the FFL seeks reassurance. He could not be didduaded. It is his burning ambition to gain the kepi blanc. My real concern is that he is far too young and lacks military experience. How good are his chances? He’s athletic and reasonably strong. Any comments from ex-legionnaires would be much appreciated

  7. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    from experience, your son is in for a real challenge. Not just from a physical aspect but also mentally. Not to worry though on his return to the U.K in 5 years time, that’s if he decides to come home, be it in a bodybag. The NHS has excellent services dedicated to those who require phsycological treatment. On the whole the FFL will make a man of your son.

  8. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    Tomas Warcloud.. aka Tomas Banderies was he ever a member of FFL?

  9. extra info

    I am 100% on joining and have been for a while but need to know some of the prerequisits. I have reasonable eyesight but it is still is an astimatism(18 or 19/20 vision) would I still have a chance in hell! I dont wear glasses but would they issue me with a pair? Would I have to sort that shit out before i come?


  10. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    Hi I am 22 years old and I am leaving for France to join the French Foreign legion on April 3rd what should I expect?

  11. re: anyone here part of ffl

    I am former member of, though that was back in the 80’s. I have watched new footage of legionnaires training etc and it is very different to my day. I have never ever seen one single truly 100% factual account of somebody’s time in the legion, but i suppose that everybody has their own individual experience of service. Many myths are badly explained or researched and just plain wrong. Only one way to find out!!!

  12. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    Were the yaks not attractive enough then?

  13. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    Not to worry, i was 17 when i joined forging my visitors passport. It will help him grow up. On the other side of the coin, he is safer with the legion probably than his home army especially if he goes for the best ie REP. People think more risk with the elite regiments….. not so! you are fighting with more professional men and thus less risk.

  14. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion

    Hi – I too am ready to take the step into the unknown and try selection!!! Trouble is I have glasses I dont wear them (only when needing to see detail at a distance) My eyes are roughly -1.24 and -1.48 respectivly. I’ve read the Royal Marines in Britain accept anything up to -7.00 and and the army -10.00 in each eye :S I dont know what my chances are, but I know the FFL can be choosy and fickle when making selection…that said I have watched documentries and seen pics with Legionaires with glasses in them, so here’s hoping…

    Anyone have a definitive answers ??

    Many thanks

  15. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion


  16. re: How to join the French Foreign Legion




  17. I am 25, living in New Mexico,USA. I am poor and have no real future besides either jail or the military. Haven’t been in any real trouble, but not a complete saint either. I have no military background, however have been thru over a year and a half of low impact/ wilderness survival training. I am not a very big guy but have a good deal of strength, and a black belt in shotokan. Looking very seriously into the FFL as a career option, as i would like to apply for french citizenship after my contract expires (if i make it that long of course).

    My question is this. Assuming i am allowed to keep my assumed name, is there any connection after i am discharged to my old name. I ask because of my low income it would take me a few months to save for an excursion to France. So I am planning on getting a credit card or loan of somekind to pay for the flight, and more than likely would not be paying back said credit card or loan.

    Also any help/suggestions/info on joining the legion would be greatly appreciated.

  18. Specific questions are best answered by the legion itself. You can e-mail them by going to the website. You are probably more likely to get a prompt response if you communicate in French, but they will respond to English.

    These are the eyesight requirements as stated in info sent to me by the FFL.

    Minimum visual acuity :

    uncorrected: minimum 0,5 for each eye
    corrected: or [7/10 and 2/10], or [6/10 and 3/10] or [5/10 and 4/10] (total: 9/10 with the two eyes)

    Correction in dioptres :
    near-sighted: -10
    far-sighted: +8

    I don’t wear glasses so I have no idea what this is really saying. Hope this helps. Good luck to us all.

  19. Hi P.Narramore,
    im pretty sure there will be no connection between who you r now, and who you might be then, as nicely said one of FFL high-rankin officer, “to some whos lookin for you, your not there anymore, youve left this planet”:) tho from what ive heard, chances r about 20% youll be accepted to join, nowadays there r hordes of ppl from ex-soviet block eager to join FFL with advantage of military experience. so be carefull about taking loan to get in as you may end in france, with loan upon your head and without much options left.

  20. Any one actually know what the tests are you have to pass??? Is it the 2600m run???or the 8k run with the back pack?? Iam very fit and iam capable of either, but im leaving in a week and just want a heads up.
    Any one know???
    Any info would be great, if not see you there.

  21. Thanks for the info , ive asked FFL exactly the same just before i saw your post, in english tho so wondering when and what response ill get.
    Ive actually asked for rough list of tests one have to undergo to weigth my chances. I know its just wild shot but who knows, maybe theyll gimme some usefull info ill be able to share with you.
    Gluck to everyone who dares.

  22. Do Legionnaires pay taxes or get deducted?
    What about people with spouses?
    How often do you get leave?
    Can you live the country, or are confined to France?
    I am 32 w/ prior military/combat experience. What are my chances of getting accepted?

  23. I’m 38, fit, and thinking of joining. Clean record, single and hate current life. Currently working out heavily to prepare, learning french (rosetta stone), etc.
    Several questions for those who may know:
    1) I’m prior US service, with honorable discharge. Can and How well do they review your prior, native military experience?

    2)As for the written/aptitude test that they give you when you initially apply? What can I study to prepare?

    3)What should I be able to run distance wise comfortably?

  24. uncorrected: minimum 0,5 for each eye
    corrected: or [7/10 and 2/10], or [6/10 and 3/10] or [5/10 and 4/10] (total: 9/10 with the two eyes)

    Correction in dioptres :
    near-sighted: -10
    far-sighted: +8

    Not really sure what the above means.. does that mean 20/20 or 20/25 maybe someone could help explain that to me.

  25. Anyway,
    i’m going to France and i will join the legion. I hope to leave the US this week.

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