Why become Legionnaire ?

Are you seeking info about French Legion (Army) recruitment for foreigners? This article will provide in detail all you need to know or do before you can join the French Legion (Army) as a foreigner. So read this article to the end.

Unlike US Army Recruitment for Foreigners, there is NO OTHER WAY! No online applications, no letters of invitation, no French embassy’s documents are provided in order to join the French Foreign Legion. Keep in mind.

French Army Recruitment For Foreigners

Why become Legionnaire ?

SERVE: The Legion , France and its values ​​with ” Honor and Loyalty “.

FAMILY INTEGRATION : a unique adventure within a rich community of 150 different nationalities.

Be part of the ELITE : becoming a soldier who trains hard with rigor and discipline.

INHERIT traditions of our past, and continue to write history.

What to take with you to the French Foreign Legion

  • 1 pair of sports shoes
  • 3 sets of spare underwear (3 briefs / boxers – 3 t-shirts – 3 pairs of socks)
  • Toiletries (soap/shower gel – razor and shaving foam – shower towel – shower sandals)
  • Cash: maximum € 50

You SHOULDN’T take with you:

  • All types of weapons (including knives)
  • Music players and all types of audio/video players
  • Bank cards
  • Jewelry and valuables

Requirements To Join The French Legion


  • For applicants from the European Union who hold the nationality of one of the SCHENGEN countries, have a valid national identity card or passport.
  • For applicants who are not part of the SCHENGEN area, it is mandatory to have a valid passport (only).
  • No school diploma required
  • At a minimum, know how to read and write in the mother tongue.
  • Be over 17 and a half and under 39 and a half on the day of presentation at the information desk.
  • Bring any useful administrative documents: residence permit, photocopy of family record book, marriage certificate, divorce certificate, birth certificate extract, etc.)

IMPORTANT: In order to facilitate the administrative procedures related to the engagement, you can usefully bring the following documents:

  • Driver’s license
  • Proof of education or diplomas
  • Supporting documents for employment contracts
  • Proof of military service (authorization to serve in a foreign army depending on the country)
  • ESS (signage and service status) for candidates who served in the French armies
  • JAPD (Defense Preparation Day) or JDC (Defense and Citizenship Day) certificate
  • Extract of birth certificate (full version with filiation of less than six months)
  • Proof of family situation
  • Criminal record extract


  • A “parental authorization” handwritten and signed by both parents, or legal guardian (s).
  • Provide photocopies of identity documents for both parents.
  • If one or both parents are deceased, provide the supporting documents “death certificate”
  • For minor foreign applicants, the documents must be translated into French by an approved French translator.
  • If the minor is emancipated, he must provide the certified document.

Physical conditions to Join French Legion

  • Being able physically to serve in all places in all times and without restriction.
  • Have a ” Body Mass Index ” between 20 and 30 kg / m² (BMI = Weight / Height²) *

EXAMPLE: Body Mass Index of a man measuring 1.75 m and weighing 72 kg

BMI = 72kg / (1.75m * 1.75m) = 23.5 kg / m²


And above all: Pass the sports tests!

Medical conditions For French Legion Recruitment

At the dental level:

  • Healthy or well-groomed teeth.
  • The masticatory coefficient is greater than or equal to 40%.

Surgically or medically:

  1. Be in possession of all medical documents relating to surgical interventions or previous illnesses
  2. Certificate of consolidation attesting that there are no consequences to these operations or illnesses.
  3. Be in possession of his health record (if it exists)
  4. If vision problem: make eye correction (glasses)

French Foreign Legion Medical Disqualification

Examples of the reasons for disqualification:

A definitive physical decrease, a chronic disease currently active and/or under treatment.


  • Tuberculosis
  • Hepatitis (s)
  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight
  • Anemia
  • Psychiatric pathology during treatment.
  • A vision too weak.
  • Hearing too weak.

Surgical: Any intervention with serious consequences for the functioning of the body.


  • Meniscal lesions
  • Total loss of a finger
  • Knee laxity
  • Recurrent patella dislocation
  • Hernia operated on with sequelae …

Selection Tests To Join French Legion

Sports Test

  • Complete overhand pull-ups (with an outstretched arm start, in a low position between each pull) are no longer eliminatory but remain an important element of selection.
  • Endurance test ” Luc light “: allows measuring the “maximum aerobic speed” (VO2max). The goal is to reach the highest level, at least level 5 (corresponding to 2500 m in the COOPER test)

Psychotechnical Tests

During the selection process you will participate in:

  • logic tests
  • personality tests

The content of the various logic and personality tests remains confidential in order to maintain equality of opportunity between all candidates for recruitment.

Motivational interviews

During the recruitment phase, you will be required to participate in various interviews.

The purpose of these interviews is to assess your motivation and your suitability to serve in the Foreign Legion.

How and where to get involved

  • The Foreign Legion only recruits on the physical presentation of candidates in an information post (PILE) or in a preselection center (PC), located in metropolitan France.
  • Throughout the selection phase, accommodation and food are free.
  • The Foreign Legion does not take any administrative steps to obtain a visa or a residence permit for France (for more information see link below).
  • VISA  https://france-visas.gouv.fr/

Foreign Legion information & recruiting offices 

Preselection center – Aubagne 
Quartier Vienot – Route départementale 2
B.P. 11 354
13 784 AUBAGNE Cedex
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Paris Nogent 

Information only:

Vincennes Foreign Legion Post 
Fort Neuf de Vincennes
Boulevard des Maréchaux
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week


Preselection center and Information post of the Foreign Legion – Fort de Nogent 
Boulevard du 25 August 1944
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week


Information post of the Foreign Legion – Lille  

Barracks Negrier
Rue Princesse
59 000 LILLE armies
Tel: (33) 03 28 36 08 72
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Mail:  l egionetrangere.lille@gmail.com


Information post of the Foreign Legion – Nantes  

Quartier Richemont
16 rue des Rochettes
44013 NANTES Cedex 1
Tel: (33) 02 28 24 20 70
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week


Information post of the Foreign Legion – Strasbourg  

Quartier Lecourbe
1, rue d’Ostende
Tel: (33) 03 88 61 53 33
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Mail: pile.strasbourg@gmail.com


Information post of the Foreign Legion – Bordeaux  

260, rue Pelleport
Tel: (33) 05 56 92 99 64
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Mail: legionetrangerebordeaux@orange.fr


Information post of the Foreign Legion – Lyon

26 avenue Leclerc
Headquarters Frère
69998 LYON Armies
Tel: (33) 04 37 27 26 50
Fax: (33) 04 37 27 35 48
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Mail: pile.lyon@terre-net.defense.gouv.fr


Information post of the Foreign Legion – Nice

Barracks Filley
2 rue Sinclaire
06300 NICE
Tel: 06 02 46 18 54 (after 6 p.m. or weekend)
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Mail: pile.nice@yahoo.fr


Information post of the Foreign Legion – Perpignan

Caserne Joffre
Rue Jean Vieilledent
BP 917
Tel: (33) 04 68 08 22 81
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week


Information post of the Foreign Legion – Toulouse

2 rue Pérignon, BP 65028
31 000 TOULOUSE Cedex
Tel: (33) 05 61 54 21 95
Fax: 05 61 54 21 95

Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Mail: legion-recrute-toulouse@orange.fr

BIRLE Tahiti


Tel: +689.
Email: legion.aitoarii@gmail.com

French Foreign Legion Contract

The duration of the legionnaire’s initial employment contract is 5 years (non-negotiable) .

At the end of this first contract, the legionary will opt for the continuation of his career by means of successive contracts whose duration varies between 6 months and 5 years.

Salary for French Foreign Legion

During your first years as a legionnaire, up to the rank of corporal included (ie 2 to 4 years), you are dressed, fed, and housed free of charge.

RANK SERVICE 1°RE 2°REP * 3°REI ** Foreign theater ***
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)
  • *** Foreign theater operations – Overseas allowance (abroad)

The Pay examples (the most basic salary), dating back to 2010, are increased by 8-10 % now

According to 2018, you could start collecting a regular retirement pension after 17 years and 6 months of honorable service.

  • Net starting salary: € 1,280 per month (excluding mutual deduction).
  • Holidays 45 working days/year.

To these premiums are added various compensatory allowances: 

  • field training
  • External missions
  • TAP premium (parachute regiment)
  • etc …

Career in the French Foreign Legion

Combat specialities

Sniper, tank pilot, tank gunner, parachutist, deminer, machine gun or anti-tank rocket launcher, armored vehicle pilot, and many other combatant specialties 

Administration: secretary, accountant, IT and office automation operator.

Transmissions: Radio-graphic operator, radio mechanic, switchboard operator.

Driving:  Driver of light vehicles, heavy goods vehicles and super heavy goods vehicles, public transport and public works vehicles, driving school instructor.

Maintenance: Mechanic, auto electrician, bodybuilder, armament repairer, plumber, electrician.

Miscellaneous: Nurse, computer scientist, physical education monitor, musician, photographer, cook, storekeeper.

10% of Legion officers started their career as simple legionnaires and worked up through the ranks.

If you have good aptitudes, that you are motivated, hardworking, and serious, the Foreign Legion will allow you to access a career of Executive.

The advancement is done according to merit. Any legionary can make a career, not by educational or professional diplomas acquired in the civilian world, but thanks to military or technical examinations passed during successive contracts.

  • All of the Legion’s non-commissioned officers begin their careers as a simple legionary.
  • Current supervision rate: 1 S / OFF for 4 legionnaires.
  • Out of 4 legionaries who enlist today, one of them will become a non-commissioned officer.


MAJOR Year of
1 to 6
Possible from
2 years of service
Possible from 3 years of service
being already a corporal or master corporal
Possible from
5 years of service
Possible from
3 years of sergeant rank
7 to 14
Possible from 3 years of rank
of master sergeant
Possible from 4 years
of adjutant rank
By competition, to the rank
of chief warrant officer
14 to 25 years
and over
10% of the officers of the Foreign Legion served first as a legionary, then as a non-commissioned officer.

The candidate’s selection path

The candidate’s selection process lasts 2 to 3 weeks.

The training course

The candidate’s selection process lasts 2 to 3 weeks.

Phases Information Duration
In an  Information Post of the Foreign Legion 2 days
Home Recruitment Information
Opening of the engagement file
Evaluation 7 days
In a Preselection Center of the Foreign Legion  (Paris / Fontenay sous Bois – Aubagne)
Motivational interview
Sports test
Initial medical visit Finalization of the engagement file
Signature of the 5-year employment contract
Selection 14 days
At the Selection and Incorporation Center in Aubagne
tests : logic tests that do not require any academic knowledge
Complementary medical examination Sports tests Motivational and safety interviews
Personality tests (complementary to psychotechnical tests)
Selection commission
Official delivery of the 5-year employment contract
Incorporation into the 4th Foreign Regiment (Castelnaudary)


FAQ- Frequently Asked Questions

NO .

In peacetime, no one may be admitted to serve in a foreign capacity:

  • If he is not seventeen at least and forty at most;
  • If he does not prove his identity and, for the unemancipated minor, the consent of the legal representative;
  • If he does not have the skills required for the exercise of the function.

In the absence of a validated check of supporting documents of identity, the general commanding the Foreign Legion by a delegation of the Minister of Defense can authorize the subscription of a contract under-declared identity.

Can we subsequently recover our real identity?


When the soldier serving as a foreigner who has signed a contract under a declared identity produces documents establishing formal proof of his true identity, his military situation is regularized. From this regularization, the soldier serving as a foreign title serves under his true identity.

The process of regularizing the military situation is initiated as soon as the person concerned is able to provide the administrative and official acts requested by the French administration.

In general, this process begins at the end of the initial general training and in all cases it takes place before one year of service.

What documents do I need to take for recruitment?

The presentation of all identity documents (valid) produced by the candidate’s country of origin is requested in order to facilitate the selection and recruitment process (identity card, passport, driving license, diplomas state…).

In all cases, a birth certificate or extract with filiation will be required before the end of the first year of the contract.

Can a foreign legionnaire become French?

Yes ,a foreign legionnaire can apply for French nationality after three years of service.

This is generally granted, subject to having a good way of serving and having proven its willingness to integrate into the French Nation.

The legionnaire who does not wish to opt for French nationality retains his foreign nationality and can, just as much, remain in France at the end of his contract and when he is in possession of a resident card.

Obtaining a resident card is consecutive to obtaining a “certificate of good conduct” issued by the command of the Foreign Legion to each deserving legionary who leaves active service.

In addition, the legionary wounded in operation can acquire, by right, French nationality (law known as “par le sang versé”).

Is the Legion tougher than other armies?

No, the general discipline regulations in force within the units of the Foreign Legion are strictly the same as that of the French Army and only the status of personnel serving in the Foreign Legion is different.

However, if the general discipline regulations are identical to those of the French Army, it is also true that its long and glorious past, its operational experience but also and above all the level of excellence which characterizes the Foreign Legion of today impose a certain number of obligations on those who join its ranks.

What are the specific constraints?

Wearing civilian clothes: if any legionnaire – regardless of his seniority of service within the Legion – is authorized to wear civilian clothes outside the limits of his home garrison, a legionary not yet totaling five years of service. service must wear uniform within these same garrison boundaries.

Purchase of a motor vehicle: in addition to the authorized possession of a validated civilian driving license corresponding to the category of the vehicle concerned, a legionnaire wishing to acquire a motor vehicle must have completed at least five years of service and be “regularized of military status”.

Marriage: a legionary will only be authorized to marry after having complied with the following conditions:

  • to serve under their true identity (thus to be regularized of the military situation)
  • having informed the command
  • – 5 years of service: authorization from the Minister of Defense

During my vacation, can I go abroad?

Yes , under certain conditions.

To be authorized to go abroad, either to his country of origin or to a third country, a legionary must have an identity document from his country of origin, serve under his true identity and therefore have been “ regularized military status ”(see answer to question number 2).

Finally, he will have to obtain authorization from the command. Some sensitive destinations, however, are subject to “precautionary” restrictions.

Is there a structure for legionaries on vacation?

The legionnaire who, on the contrary, does not wish to go abroad can of course spend his leave in France.

Reception facilities by the sea, such as the center for leave of absence of the Foreign Legion of Malmousque , located in Marseille and the accommodation and reception center of the Foreign Legion located in La Ciotat (the CHALE, 30km east of Marseille) allow these legionaries on leave to be accommodated in conditions of remarkable comfort and at preferential rates.

Can we join the Foreign Legion without ever having been a soldier before?

Many volunteers join the ranks of the Foreign Legion without ever having served in the army of their country of origin. This does not constitute a barrier to recruitment.

Can a French join the Foreign Legion?

Yes, a French can enlist in the Foreign Legion, but he will be enlisted with the status of military “in a foreign capacity”, like all foreigners who enlist.

This status is different from the status in force within the French armies.

Candidates of French nationality may be recruited under their real identity or under a declared identity (see question number 2).

How about evenings, weekends, holidays in the Foreign Legion?

After finishing your four-month basic training, you are allowed to leave your military base during your free time.

How about using mobile phones, laptop or notebook computers?

After finishing your four-month basic training, you are allowed to buy them and use them during your free time.

How about annual leave (vacation/holiday)?

The Legion offers you 20 working days during your first year of service, 25 working days during your second year of service, and, since your third year of service, you will be provided with 45 working days of annual leave (vacation/holiday) per year.

How about visiting/seeing my family?

You have to be a “recognized person” (called RSM) to be allowed to visit your family officially in your home country during your annual leave. You can get that status within 1-3 years. If you are a “bad guy” with some a little bit complicated justice problems at home, just ask your family to arrive in France to meet together during your free time. They can also meet you at your regiment directly, during holidays like Cameron Day (April 30).

How about the visa and flight tickets for joining the Legion?

The shortest French visa (for tourism) is for 90 days… 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 offers you no refunds, no money, no scholarships, no online applications, no letters of invitation, no French embassy’s documents to get to France.

How about the Second (or Third) chance for re-entering the Selection process?

In some cases, the Foreign Legion offers you a chance to return back, if you failed entry tests during the selection process in Aubagne. If the Legion gives you the second (or third) chance, you receive a paper document with the 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, that is up to the Legion solely. If the Legion does not give you another chance, you receive a paper document with the title “INAPTE DEFINITIF”. That means the Legion is closed to you forever.

How about the naturalization/getting French citizenship?

After 3 years of service, you are allowed to ask for naturalization. You have to serve honorably and you have to be “rectified” (to serve under your real identity recognized by the French government) to be qualified to get French citizenship. Be sure, that you have to pass more than 5 years of service to be naturalized. The second eventuality of being naturalized/getting French citizenship is to be seriously wounded during a military operation.ui

What is the French Army Website

The website of French army is https://www.legion-recrute.com/

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