How to Join the French Foreign Legion

The French Foreign Legion is a military service branch of the French Army which recruits foreign nationals from all over the world who wish to join and serve in the French Armed Forces. Established in 1831, it is commanded by French Officers and although it is part of the French military, Legionnaires do not swear allegiance to France but to the French Foreign Legion itself. Training with the Legion is often described as physically challenging and stressful psychologically hence it is not meant for the weak and faint-hearted.

To join the French Foreign Legion, an applicant must travel at own expense to France and present himself at a preselection center in Paris / Aubagne or any of the information & recruiting offices (smaller recruiting centers known as PILE). Once allowed in, applicants are provided with free accommodation and food during the whole recruitment process. Please note that it is the applicant's sole responsibility to obtain a visa to enter France and the Legion does not facilitate this process.

The whole recruiting & selection process takes 2-5 weeks and is done in two phases i.e Preselection and Selection. Preselection is done at any of the Foreign Legion's recruitment centers in Paris or Aubagne. Here, applicants are received, given information, confirm their motivation to join the Legion, an initial medical check-up is done on them and they finalize their enlistment papers. Successful applicants are then taken to a recruitment center in Aubagne for the Selection stage where they undergo a series of tests which include, psycho- technical tests, thorough medical check up, sports tests, motivation & security interviews and finally personality tests. Applicants who emerge successful in both phases sign a 5 years service contract and are incorporated into the Legion's Fourth Foreign Regiment for an initial 4 months training.

French Foreign Legion Recruitment Requirements


1. Applicants from the SCHENGEN Area countries in Europe are required to produce an identity card or valid passport while those from outside the SCHENGEN Area are required to produce a valid passport only.

2. No school degree is required but applicants need to know how to read and write in their mother tongue.

3. Applicants should be at least 17 ½ years and less than 39 ½ years on the day they report at the information desk. Also, applicants less than 18 years need to produce their Parent's consent handwritten and signed by both parents or legal guardian(s). Photocopies of parent's identification papers are also needed and if one or both parents are deceased, the appropriate death certificate(s) should accompany the application. These documents need also to be signed and validated by the embassy or consulate and be translated into French by an approved French translator.

4. Applicants should produce any other supporting documents that may be useful: residence permit, driver's license, photocopy of family record book, certificate of marriage, certificate of divorce, birth certificate, etc.

5. It is also important to have a clean record. Applicants shouldn't be wanted by Interpol or have outstanding warrants against them. In some cases, people with criminal records may not be accepted.


6. On the day an applicant reports at the Foreign Legion's information desk, he should be declared medically fit to take the required physical aptitude tests.

7. The applicant should be declared physically fit to serve in all places and weather conditions, without restrictions, for at least 5 years.

8. An applicant's "Body Mass Index" (BMI) should range between 20 and 30 kg/m²  (BMI = Weight / Size ² ).
EXAMPLE:  BMI of a man with a height of 1.75 m (5ft9) and weight of 72kg (158.7 lbs).
BMI = 72 kg/(1.75m*1.75m) = 23.5 kg/m ².
9. And above all, applicants are required to pass the sports tests.


10. Applicants’ dental health condition:
(a) Teeth in good condition (no tooth decay).
(b) Maximum number of missing teeth between 4 & 6 depending on the value of the teeth.
(c) Masticatory force (to have quite healthy teeth) equal to or higher than 40%.
11. Applicants’ surgical or medical condition:
(a) Produce all medical documents regarding previous surgical operations or diseases.
(b) Certificate of consolidation establishing the applicant does not suffer from any after-effects from previous operations or diseases
(c) An applicant should produce his health record where applicable.
(d) Eyesight : bring eyesight correction tools, as applicable (glasses).
(a) A permanent physical ailment, an active chronic disease either active and/or being treated. Examples: Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, Cancer, HIV, Diabetes, Overweight, Anemia, Psychiatric condition under treatment, Poor eyesight, and Poor hearing.
 (b) Surgical record: Any operation with major after-effects on bodily functions. Examples: Damaged meniscus, Whole finger missing, Lax knee(s), Repeated kneecap dislocation, Hernia operated on but with after-effects, etc.

13. Applicants ignorance of the French language does not matter as recruits are taught the language during the initial training. However, it would help a lot for one to learn basic French so as to have an advantage over the other applicants and be able to compete well with those coming from French-speaking countries.


14. Sporting Tests: Should be able to make 03 full push-ups in a prone position, starting with arms outstretched and lying low between push-ups. Make at least 4 pull-ups. Applicants also take the "Luc L├ęger" endurance test to measure one's "maximum aerobic speed (VO2 max / maximum oxygen uptake) goal: to reach the highest level.

15. Psychological & Technical tests: During the selection process, applicants are asked to take logic tests and personality tests.

16. Motivation Interview: Applicants are interviewed on several occasion to assess their degree of motivation and ability to serve in the French Foreign Legion.

Things to take with you

17. The number-one rule is to pack light when going for the French Foreign Legion recruitment. Mandatory items to take with you:
(a) 1 pair of running shoes
(b) 3 sets of underwear (3 underwear items, 3 t-shirts, 3 pairs of socks)
(c) Toilet bag (soap/shower gel, shaver and shaving cream, shower towel, shower slippers)
(d) Cash: 50€ maximum
18. Unnecessary items to take with you:
(a) Cameras and “Walkmen” or all types audio/video players
(b) Credit cards
(c) Big amounts of money (300+ Euros/ 400+ USD)
(d) Jewels and valuables
19. Prohibited items you MUST not take with you:
(a) All types of weapons (knives included)
(b) Vehicle keys (car, motor bike keys, etc…)
(c) House keys.
 Contract duration

20. The first contract an applicant signs up is for 5 years (non-negotiable). At the end of the first contract, a Legionnaire” will have the option to choose between contracts varying in duration (from 6 months to 5 years) to pursue his career.
French Foreign Legionnaires can apply to become citizens of France after 3 years of service while those who get injured during battle can apply immediately for French citizenship under "spilled blood".  


21. Being a Legionnaire is a full-time job. He is initially trained to be a fighter and is a Fighter above all. After 2 years of service since joining, one may opt for a specialty.
(a) Combat specialties: sniper, tank driver, tank gunner, parachutist, sapper-bomb disposal expert, machine-gun gunner or anti-tank rocket launcher, armored vehicle pilot or any other specialist fighter.
(b) Administration: secretary, accountant, computer and office operator.
(c) Transmissions: radio operator, radio operator mechanic, exchange operator.
(d) Drivers: lightweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight vehicle drivers, public transport and public works vehicle drivers and driving school instructors.
(e) Maintenance: Mechanic, car electrician, carriage-builder, weapons repair agent, plumber and electrician.
(f) Miscellaneous: Male nurse, computer specialist, P.E. instructor, musician, photographer, cook or storekeeper.

22. During a Legionnaire's first year until he obtains the rank of corporal (i.e. 2 to 4 years), he is equipped, fed and accommodated free of charge.

Starting net salary: 1,280 € per month (excluding health insurance fees)
Vacation : 45 working days per year.
Other compensations are added to basic treatment:
On-field training sessions
External Missions
Airborne mission allowances (airborne regiment)
French Foreign Legionnaires during combat in Mali

Visit the official French Foreign Legion recruitment website here and also read more information about the French Foreign Legion and joining here.



  1. how can you join the french army from kenya

    1. You cannot join from your home country. Applicants who wish to join the French Foreign Legion must travel to mainland France for enlistment. Visa and travel expenses are the applicant's responsibility


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