How to Join the French Foreign Legion

Three Parts:Fulfilling Basic RequirementsPassing Essential TestsProgressing through the French Foreign Legion

The French Foreign Legion is a military mercenary group that accepts recruits from around the world. This organization advertises a “chance for a new life.” Men who are accepted into the ranks can achieve French citizenship and opt for a five-year contract or life as a career soldier.

Part 1
Fulfilling Basic Requirements

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    Ensure you are a man between the ages of 17 to 40 years old. Young men who are 17 and a half years old can apply with the consent of their guardian or parent. You must show up at the recruitment office before your 40th birthday. [1]
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    Apply for a passport. You must show that you are a citizen of a country and that you have the ability to travel internationally.
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    Have a clean record. You can’t be wanted by Interpol or have outstanding warrants against you. In some cases, people with criminal records may not be accepted.
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    Be fit. You may need to train to pass rigorous physical fitness standards.[2]
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    Make sure you have extreme flexibility. The French Foreign Legion requires a commitment of five years consecutive services. Your marital status, nationality, religion, education or professional preferences are not taken into account if you sign up.
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    Learn basic French. All written and oral communication will be in French, so you should at least be able to read documents and recognize commands.

Part 2
Passing Essential Tests

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    Purchase a ticket to go to a pre-selection center in Paris or Aubagne. You don’t need to sign up in advance, but once you show up at the office in Aubagne, you must be ready to serve for five years. Your room and board will be paid for while you apply for the Foreign Legion.
    • Ensure you take all travel expenses, documents, underwear, training clothes, toiletries and necessary items with you.
    • You will not be allowed to keep weapons, cameras, electronics or large amounts of money.
    • You will need enough money to apply for a visa.
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    Undergo physical fitness tests. You will need to do at least four pull-ups, complete a 2800-meter (1.7 mile) run in 12 minutes and complete a Luc leger, or sprinting race with at least seven landings of 20 meters (22 yards).
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    Enter into psychological and personality testing. This is a series of interviews. You will be asked to tell the truth about your past and your background.[3]
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    Pass a medical exam. The following qualifications are necessary:
    • You must have no more than six missing teeth.
    • Your eyes must be no more than -10 diopters for nearsighted people and +8 diopters for farsighted people.[4]
    • You must show proof that all previous illnesses are treated and healed.
    • You must not have tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV, diabetes, mental disorders or recurrent hernia problems.
    • You must not be missing any fingers.

Part 3
Progressing through the French Foreign Legion

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    Pass the pre-selection process in Paris or Aubagne.
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    Sign enlistment papers and a contract for five years of service.
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    Pass the selection process in Aubagne. This is where you will complete the physical, psychological and medical tests. You will be informed if you are selected to join the French Foreign Legion.
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    Reconfirm your five-year service contract. Go through incorporation into the Legion.
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    Go to your initial training program for four weeks. You will learn about the lifestyle and legion traditions.
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    Graduate from basic training. Then, report to technical and practical training for three weeks.
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    Travel to the French Pyrenees to complete mountain training for one week.
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    Return for more technical and practical training. Then, you will need to pass examinations.
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    Enter into light vehicle school. Then, return to Aubagne to be assigned to your regimen. Fulfill your five-year contract.[5]
    • As of 2014, French Foreign Legion members are being sent to Afghanistan and South America.

Things You'll Need

  • Ticket to France
  • Passport

Article Info

Categories: Careers in the Military