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Category: Joining
  1. Can women join the Foreign Legion?
  2. Is it true that I can join the Legion without any identity papers?
  3. Can I still join the Legion under a false name?
  4. Is it true that the Legion takes anyone?
  5. What are the physical & other requirements to join the Legion?
  6. Where do I go to join the Legion?
  7. What possessions am I allowed to have?
  8. How much money should I take with me?
  9. Can a married man join?
  10. How do I get visa to enter france, to reach the recruiting centre?
  11. Does the Legion give priority to those who want to join who have special skills like a mechanic, nurse, painter, or a technician?
  12. Do I need to be able to swim?
  13. What are the age limits for Legion recruits?



  1. Can women join the Foreign Legion?
    The French changed the law to allow women to join the Legion. However, this law has yet to be truly enacted & so at the time of writing, no women have joined the Legion, or seem likely to.
    Category: Joining
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  2. Is it true that I can join the Legion without any identity papers?
    Sadly, no. This used to be possible but the Legion now requires proof of identity from every applicant. Those aged under 18 require a letter of consent from their parents.
    Category: Joining
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  3. Can I still join the Legion under a false name?
    Yes. Although the Legion will need to know your true identity, you can choose to serve under any 'nom de guerre' you like. However, it will be to your benefit to 'come clean' if you wish to stay in the Legion beyond your first contract.
    Category: Joining
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  4. Is it true that the Legion takes anyone?
    No. The Legion is becoming increasingly selective & rejects far more than it accepts -- around 80% at present. However, most rejects are turned down because of physical or mental health problems, as the Legion does not want weaklings, those who will change their mind when things get tough or psychos!
    Category: Joining
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  5. What are the physical & other requirements to join the Legion?
    This is the latest information from 'le chef du bureau de recrutement de la Légion étrangère' (the head of the Légion's recruiting office): 'QUESTIONS / ANSWERS 1 – The visa: Foreigners from outside the EEC are required to have a valid passport (with or without visa) to enlist. The Foreign Legion recruiting office can under no circumstances help you to obtain either passport or visa. No letters of intention or summons to enlist can be sent to you. 2 – Medical aptitude: Minimum visual acuity: * uncorrected: minimum 0,5 for each eye * corrected: or [7/10 & 2/10], or [6/10 & 3/10] or [5/10 & 4/10] (total: 9/10 with the two eyes) Correction in dioptres: * near-sighted: -10 * far-sighted: +8 3 – Can I bring a medical certificate? No. Medical aptitude can ONLY be determined by the French Army Medical Corps. 4 – Must I speak French? Speaking French is certainly helpful but not obligatory for enlistment. French language classes are provided during basic training. ' Physically, bear in mind that life in the Legion can tax your physical endurance to the maximum. Therefore, make very sure that you can do the following WITH EASE: *Run 8 kilometres with a 12-kilogram rucksack in less than one hour. *Do 30 push-ups. *Do 50 sit-ups. *Climb a 20-foot rope WITHOUT using your feet. *Do 8 chin-ups with your palms away from you as you grip the bar.
    Category: Joining
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  6. Where do I go to join the Legion?
    The Legion has 17 recruiting offices all over France (but nowhere else), including a new one in Rouen. However, the easiest recruiting office for most people is the one near Paris, in Fort du Nogent (Tel: 01 48 77 49 68). To get there is quite easy. Here's how: First, take the RER (suburban express train) line A2, which you can catch at many places in central Paris, like Charles de Gaulle/Etoile, Gare de Lyon or Nation. Make sure the train is going to Boissy Saint Léger, NOT Marne la Vallée/Chessy. Journey time from Charles de Gaulle/Etoile = app. 25 minutes or 10 minutes from Gare de Lyon. Get off at Nogent sur Marne. At the station, you can take a bus (#114) part of the way but if you walk, look for Avenue de Joinville. Follow this up to the Place du Marechal Leclerc & then take the Boulevard de Strasbourg for several blocks. Turn left on Route de Stalingrad (or Boulevard Georges V if you miss this)& soon you will see a sign saying you are entering the town of Fontenay-sous-bois. A little further & you'll see some appartment blocks & then a large white sign saying 'LEGION ETRANGERE INFORMATION RECRUITMENT' with an arrow pointing to the right. Follow the narrow road between the blocks for 200 metres & you'll see the Fort. Knock on the gate & a legionnaire will respond. If you prefer to go straight to HQ (in Aubagne, near Marseilles, where you will be sent eventually), the train fare from central Paris was (in April 2001) €66.
    Category: Joining
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  7. What possessions am I allowed to have?
    To try & limit theft & envy, the Legion does limit what you can bring in with you. TGo be safe, limit your belongings to: * A French-English dictionary. * Toilet articles, shaving gear, a towel. * Cigarettes/tobacco. * A watch, preferably cheap. * A wallet & approximately 30 Euro. * Address book or personal contact list. No maps are allowed (to hinder desertion), not even those in a diary! Also, your passport will be taken away.
    Category: Joining
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  8. How much money should I take with me?
    Remember that you can only enlist in metropolitan France & so you will need enough money to reach France & pay your way till you enter one of the Légion Recruiting Centres. With competition for Légion vacancies getting tougher, there is a chance that you might not be accepted on your first try & so you will also need enough money to get home again. (If you are turned down at Aubagne, where most of the 'weeding out' happens, then the Légion will pay your fare back to whichever town you first applied in. Therefore, if you apply at Fort du Nogent (Paris) as most people do, then the Légion will pay your train fare back to Paris. According to the latest information I have, around 40 Euro (less than US$10) should be enough to get you through any additional expenses during the selection procedure (cigarettes, etc.). Remember that there are thieves in the Légion, especially during the early period, so don't take too much cash with you!
    Category: Joining
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  9. Can a married man join?
    To begin with, the Légion prefers unmarried men & although married men might be accepted, they will be expected to have no contact with their wife. If you are married when you join, the Légion will not recognise your marriage, as everyone below the rank of sergent is officially single.
    Category: Joining
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  10. How do I get visa to enter france, to reach the recruiting centre?
    The Legion will NOT give any help in getting a visa, so you have to apply to your local French Embassy in the usual way. Just get a tourist visa or entry visa, & hope for the best. However, if you feel like gambling, you can try sneaking in as this is sometimes possible. If the Legion likes you, a visa will often be unnecessary. However, if you fail to get accepted & have no visa, you may be handed over to the Police.
    Category: Joining
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  11. Does the Legion give priority to those who want to join who have special skills like a mechanic, nurse, painter, or a technician?
    No. The number 1 criteria for applicants is physical & mental fitness. With so many qualified applicants arriving at its recruiting offices, the Legion is often spoilt for choice. Also, the list of trades in the Legion is limited, & although any skills an applicant has will be noted, such skills may not help if they fail the other tests.
    Category: Joining
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  12. Do I need to be able to swim?
    The Legion does expect applicants to be able to swim & so if competition is hard at the time you apply, a good swimmer will be chosen instead of you. Officially, the Legion can teach you to swim. However, you are expected to learn VERY quickly & their methods of teaching you are not pleasant. To improve your chances & make life much easier, I would strongly recommend learning to swim -- preferably learn to swim fully clothed -- before applying.
    Category: Joining
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  13. What are the age limits for Legion recruits?
    The Legion's basic age requirements are 17-40 years old (Parental or legal tutor authorization is required for minors). Now in my day, in the 1970s, I joined very much under age, as no paperwork or ID were required. However, the Legion now requires applicants to hold a valid official identity card, so you have to be within the age limits. What's more, with competition now VERY tough, & with plenty of very fit East Europeans, anyone over 30 might have trouble being accepted. If you are over 30 but are extra fit & have suitable military experience, go ahead & try. But be prepared for a hard time!
    Category: Joining
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