French Foreign Legion

Zambezi

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My son wanted to join the British army but that door seems closed to him. He is now looking at the Legion as an option. Does anyone have any info, experience or opinions?

Applicants are accepted from any country in the world. The days of murderers etc running to the Legion to escape justice are long gone but you do get a new identity when you join so it seems some undesirables do make it into the force.

It would seem that speaking French is not a requirement. I would think that it would be a hinderance for a non French speaker. How do they give instructions / commands to recruits that may speak 10 different languages??

Is the Legion a viable option?
A respected and capable fighting force?

Any feedback would be welcomed.
 

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Not all are accepted. During basic training, they will have to learn french language within some time, 6 months or so. This is what i was reading somewhere. So, during inititial probation period, they need to show level of skill, condition, training, attitude, aptitude, will, plus french language. If they meet required standard, they will be accepted, or not. Foreign national, can grow in rank up to level of petty officer, or NCO. (seargent, for example)
This is what i was reading about, I could be wrong.
 

Zambezi

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Thanks for the reply. Yes that is also my understanding. All are accepted to join, but not all make the grade.

Foreigners can obtain French (EU) citizenship after 4 years. The minimum sign up period is 5 years. So higher ranks (Staff SGT, WO1 / WO2, SGT Major etc etc) would not really be accomplished within 4 years anyway.

He wants to become a field medic and progress from there so specialised training would have to be an option after a few years in the service.
 

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One more thing, during first 5 year contract they cannot get married. (said to be?)

Full rank commissioned officers are French, from french army.
 

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@Zambezi
An elite unit engaged in some serious fighting in the past. There's worse things a young man could do. Read below. Recently, many were deployed to Afghanistan.

While all rank and file members of the Legion are required to serve under "Foreign Status" (à titre étranger), even if they are French nationals, non-commissioned and commissioned officers can serve under either French or Foreign Status.[55] Foreign Status NCOs and officers are exclusively promoted from the ranks and in 2016 represented 10% of the Officer Corps of the Legion.[56] French Status officers are either members of other units of the French Army attached to the Legion or promoted Légionnaires who have chosen to become French nationals.

Basic training for the Foreign Legion is conducted in the 4th Foreign Regiment. This is an operational combat regiment which provides a training course of 15–17 weeks, before recruits are assigned to their operational units:

  • Initial training of 4–6 weeks at The Farm (La Ferme) – introduction to military lifestyle; outdoor and field activities.
  • March (Marche Képi Blanc) – a 50-kilometer (31 mi) two-day march (25 km per day) in full kit, followed by the Kepi Blanc ceremony on the 3rd day.
  • Technical and practical training (alternating with barracks and field training) – three weeks.
  • Mountain training (Chalet at Formiguière in the French Pyrenees) – one week.
  • Technical and practical training (alternating barracks and field training) – three weeks.
  • Examinations and obtaining of the elementary technical certificate (CTE) – one week.
  • March (Raid Marche) – a 120-kilometer (75 mi) final march, which must be completed in three days.
  • Light vehicle drivers education (drivers license) – one week.
  • Return to Aubagne before reporting to the assigned operational regiment – one week.
Education in the French language (reading, writing and pronunciation) is taught on a daily basis throughout all of basic training.
 

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About 25 years ago, we had a fashion among young officers and soldiers who had served - to go to the Legion, mainly for the sake of French citizenship. There are high requirements, and not only for physical fitness, but fashion has passed for some reason, there were not so many pies and buns. The conditions of service are not bad, but.... the salary is about 1200 euros, uniform. There is also a vacation - 45 working days a year, daily meals and accommodation in the barracks.

After three years of service, you can ask for French citizenship — but they will not give it to everyone, but only to those who have "proved the will to integrate into the French nation." What this means is unclear. A legionnaire who has been wounded can also apply for citizenship.
There is no question of any guarantees of obtaining citizenship. What in the Russian Federation is called "guarantees of legal and social protection of servicemen and their family members" and is clearly prescribed in the laws, in France it is understood as an opportunity to ask for or claim something. The fulfillment of such a request depends only on the goodwill of the command. Someone, as far as I know, has received citizenship.

If you find yourself on some dubious mission, you may find yourself in an uncertain legal status.
 

Zambezi

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Thanks for the reply. Yes that is also my understanding. All are accepted to join, but not all make the grade.

Foreigners can obtain French (EU) citizenship after 4 years. The minimum sign up period is 5 years. So higher ranks (Staff SGT, WO1 / WO2, SGT Major etc etc) would not really be accomplished within 4 years anyway.

He wants to become a field medic and progress from there so specialised training would have to be an option after a few years in the service.
 

Zambezi

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We are still in the research phase but from we can gather every division requires their own field medics. Once basics etc has been completed you can apply for specialised training (medic / driver / etc). I suppose it will be up to those in command as to what training he is allowed to undertake.
 

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If you don't mind me asking what was the issue with the UK forces
 

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Does your son have some sort of criminal or civil record preventing him from joining the British military? In the United States, expunged state criminal convictions must be disclosed before attempting to enlist but waivers are possible on case by case basis. (Disclosure: my quick Internet research). I don’t know if British law expunges some older convictions? You may want to pay British attorney for some research and advice. Best of luck!
 

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What about the Spanish Foreign Legion?
 

Zambezi

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If you don't mind me asking what was the issue with the UK forces
Although he was born in Wales he had to take SA citizenship as we were living in the UK on a work permit at the time. The UK army is not taking Commonwealth applicants presently and not in the foreseeable future.
 

Zambezi

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Does your son have some sort of criminal or civil record preventing him from joining the British military? In the United States, expunged state criminal convictions must be disclosed before attempting to enlist but waivers are possible on case by case basis. (Disclosure: my quick Internet research). I don’t know if British law expunges some older convictions? You may want to pay British attorney for some research and advice. Best of luck!
Luckily he has always been a law abiding kind of person so at least a criminal record is not the issue. The British army are not taking Commonwealth applicants presently.
 

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Luckily he has always been a law abiding kind of person so at least a criminal record is not the issue. The British army are not taking Commonwealth applicants presently.

If he was borne in wales he should be eligible for citizenship. I would talk to an immigration attorney in the UK.
 

Zambezi

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Does your son have some sort of criminal or civil record preventing him from joining the British military? In the United States, expunged state criminal convictions must be disclosed before attempting to enlist but waivers are possible on case by case basis. (Disclosure: my quick Internet research). I don’t know if British law expunges some older convictions? You may want to pay British attorney for some research and advice. Best of luck!
Luckily he has always been a law abiding kind of person so at least a criminal record is not the issue. The British army are not taking Commonwealth applicants presently.
 

Zambezi

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If he was borne in wales he should be eligible for citizenship. I would talk to an immigration attorney in the UK.
Unfortunately he doesn't qualify as we were on a work permit so any child born there has to take the parents nationality. This was introduced as many came from all corners of the earth and gave birth in the UK to claim citizenship.

It would be great if he could but from all research and enquiries it is not possible. Pity as it has been his dream for a decade to join the British / US army.
 

Vic

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Unfortunately he doesn't qualify as we were on a work permit so any child born there has to take the parents nationality. This was introduced as many came from all corners of the earth and gave birth in the UK to claim citizenship.

It would be great if he could but from all research and enquiries it is not possible. Pity as it has been his dream for a decade to join the British / US army.
I wish the US were that way
 

Wyatt Smith

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Just out of curiosity, (I’m guessing you might know from recent research) what are the regulations for a foreigner to join the US Army? I recently tried but of course was a citizen.
 

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