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A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
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Porfirio Rubirosa Away
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A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
I am a long-time lurker who started posting here very recently; I've decided it's about time to give back to this community which has helped me so much. This is a guide to join (quite frankly, to attempt to join) the French Foreign Legion; I was a legionnaire for about three weeks but in the end I was rejected.

The FFL would suit many people on this forum; it's a way to abandon your fucked-up life in your place-of-origin, learn French, travel a little (mostly limited to French colonies and places where French troops aid fellow Nato countries), obtain French citizenship (after three years or by becoming 'French by virtue of spilled blood'). You can even assume a different name but contrary to popular belief it is not obligatory. Don't think the FFL is composed of low-lives; they'll conduct a background check through the Interpol for every single applicant. If you're on the run from Interpol they'll hand you over too and if your record is particularly bad they'll certainly send you packing.

If you do get accepted but hate it for some reason don't desert with your weapon; getting caught (typically by the Gendarmes since the Legion won't try too hard to look for you as long as you haven't taken your weapon) without it will typically get you forty days in jail but those who get caught with their weapons get a more 'extra-official' type of punishment. That's without mentioning the fact that you have more chances of getting away successfully without your weapon because many men will be after you if you desert with your weapon.

Prerequisites
  • Be a man Wink;
  • Have a passport (ID card is fine if you're from an EU country);
  • No murders or major drug offences on your criminal record (of course, a totally clean record is preferred);
  • BMI of at least 20 and at most 30 (you must be fit in general; your teeth should be in a good state too);
  • Be at least seventeen-and-a-half and thirty-nine-and-a-half at most.
All prerequisites are self-explanatory; be a fit, relatively-young male with a passport (or ID card if you're from the EU) and a relatively-good criminal record. These are the only things that matter (along with your intelligence to a certain extent). No-one cares about your nationality, race, religion, etc.

I wouldn't recommend applying if your teeth are in a bad state and you have a BMI of 29 for example; go to the gym (and the dentist), sort out all your documents since you'll be leaving your former life behind and then go to France and enlist.

Enlisting

Now that you have (presumably) sorted everything, gone to France you have to enlist. To do this you have several choices.
  • Enlisting at the pre-selection centres in Aubagne (where the Legion's headquarters are located) or in Paris;
  • Enlisting at an information centre attached to Aubagne. These are located in Lille, Nantes, and Strasbourg;
  • Enlisting at an information centre attached to Paris. These are located in Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Perpignan, and Toulouse.

Be sure to arrive at the centre's front door Monday-Friday between 8.00 and 17.00. Officially they are open on every day of the year but no-one will let you in a three in the morning on a Saturday. Once they've let you in you'll stay there for two to five weeks during which you'll be the subject of psychological, medical and physical tests. After that you'll either be rejected or sent to basic training. You won't have to pay any accommodation and/or food bills for the time spent at the pre-selection or selection centres but you are expected to bring your own clothes, shoes (mostly trainers), soap, towel(s), tooth paste and tooth brush with you.

My Story

I applied two months after turning eighteen. At the time, I had just graduated from university (I was home-schooled which allowed me to enter university at fifteen) and was living with my parents in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates since they were stationed at the Dominican Republic's Embassy there. I wanted to move to Europe but I couldn't find anyone willing to hire an inexperienced foreigner without a worker's visa or something similar. For that reason, I travelled around Europe for about a month and then enlisted in Paris. I spent three weeks there as a legionnaire but for some reason unknown to me I was rejected with a letter that said my 'profile was inapt for the needs of the Foreign Legion'.

This is all the information I can provide my fellow posters on this forum. I cannot tell you guys how gruelling the training is or whether you will immediately want to desert and return home because I was rejected before I had a chance to experience all that; they decided (and were spot-on now that I think about it) that the tough military life the Legion offers was suitable for a person like me. At the time I was quite angry but in the end I married an EU citizen (out of convenience), moved to Spain (naturalisation is relatively-simple for Ibero-American citizens and I only had to live in the country for a year since I was born there while my parents were students), naturalised and later moved to the United Kingdom where I currently live. Had I joined the FFL, my first contract (five years) would've expired a year or so ago and I would have a French passport instead of a Spanish one. Furthermore, about two or three years after the Legion rejected me another European country from which one direct ancestor of mine came enacted legislation which allowed me to claim citizenship there. I hope this datasheet is helpful.
02-02-2015 05:00 PM
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britchard Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
It's useful in terms of enlisting information, but it's a shame you couldn't have gone further and provided more information. I've heard bad things about the legion's training, weird, dangerous and scary stuff.

Anyway, your personal story sounds interesting. How did you end up in university at 15 and which one?
02-02-2015 05:07 PM
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Porfirio Rubirosa Away
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Post: #3
RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
(02-02-2015 05:07 PM)britchard Wrote:  Anyway, your personal story sounds interesting. How did you end up in university at 15 and which one?

I was home-schooled so I took my A-levels independently. I studied economics at the University of London through their International Programmes; my lead college was LSE.
02-02-2015 05:15 PM
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Quintus Curtius Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
Porfirio:

You said you "married a EU citizen out of convenience." I'd like to hear more about that. What made you do this in the first place...were you a British subject or a resident of one of the Gulf states?

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02-02-2015 05:29 PM
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JustlookingForAGoodTime Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
Back when i was 19 and a reservist right out of Armor school at FT Knox, i was intent on joining the FFL and had flight info and the Paris address on a card to show a taxi driver.I had everything i needed for the trip setup and was just about to say goodbye to friends and family. For some reason or another i didn't give it a shot and to this day i have feelings of regret over not having enlisted.

Who knows what might have been?
02-02-2015 05:30 PM
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Porfirio Rubirosa Away
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
(02-02-2015 05:29 PM)Quintus Curtius Wrote:  Porfirio:

You said you "married a EU citizen out of convenience." I'd like to hear more about that. What made you do this in the first place...were you a British subject or a resident of one of the Gulf states?

No, I was only a Dominican citizen and my legal status in the UAE was due to my status as the dependent of diplomats stationed in the country. Quite frankly, unless I found a job in the UAE I would have to return to the Dominican Republic which would've been disastrous considering I'm a stranger to that country having lived for so long away from it.

That summer I had to go to London to attend the UoL's graduation ceremony and while travelling through Europe I told my parents I would attempt to join the FFL. Needless to say, they were very supportive and did not object to the idea.

PS You can call me Rubi; Porfirio isn't my name it's just the name of a notable Dominican playboy.

@JustlookingForAGoodTime
As long as you're not over the age limit you are still able to join.
(This post was last modified: 02-02-2015 05:38 PM by Porfirio Rubirosa.)
02-02-2015 05:37 PM
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micha Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
What is this? Are we gonna have datasheets for "How I almost spent 1 month in city XY" soon?

I try hard not to be a hater, but that post is useless - and I only put in the energy to say this because I REALLY looked forward to some real insights into the legion (which the title basically promises).
(This post was last modified: 02-02-2015 05:38 PM by micha.)
02-02-2015 05:38 PM
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Checkmat Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
^ True. OP meant well but this thread is pretty useless. Opened it thinking I'd actually learn something about being in the French Foreign Legion.

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02-02-2015 06:15 PM
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Seamus Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
I've been curious about joining ever since this guy did it

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02-02-2015 06:37 PM
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samsamsam Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
I still thought it was informative. His intent was to help. I don't see the problem.

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02-02-2015 06:43 PM
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Porfirio Rubirosa Away
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Post: #11
RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
(02-02-2015 06:43 PM)samsamsam Wrote:  I still thought it was informative. His intent was to help. I don't see the problem.

Maybe the title was a bit misleading; I could have written Joining the French Foreign Legion: A Datasheet for example.
02-02-2015 06:49 PM
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samsamsam Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
(02-02-2015 06:49 PM)Porfirio Rubirosa Wrote:  
(02-02-2015 06:43 PM)samsamsam Wrote:  I still thought it was informative. His intent was to help. I don't see the problem.

Maybe the title was a bit misleading; I could have written Joining the French Foreign Legion: A Datasheet for example.
Fair enough and I acknowledge you for seeing how the title may be a bit off from what is shared but I didn't see it as uninformative or useless.

Fate whispers to the warrior, "You cannot withstand the storm." And the warrior whispers back, "I am the storm."

Women and children can be careless, but not men - Don Corleone

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02-02-2015 06:51 PM
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Porfirio Rubirosa Away
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
(02-02-2015 06:51 PM)samsamsam Wrote:  
(02-02-2015 06:49 PM)Porfirio Rubirosa Wrote:  
(02-02-2015 06:43 PM)samsamsam Wrote:  I still thought it was informative. His intent was to help. I don't see the problem.

Maybe the title was a bit misleading; I could have written Joining the French Foreign Legion: A Datasheet for example.
Fair enough and I acknowledge you for seeing how the title may be a bit off from what is shared but I didn't see it as uninformative or useless.
Thank you in that case.
02-02-2015 06:53 PM
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VolandoVengoVolandoVoy Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
Joining the FFL is a terrible idea.
From the 3rd world and just want citizenship? Knock up or marry some European or American bitch.
On the other hand, if you really really don't know what to do with your life, and have decided you are willing to use violence as a jump start to a new life, you are better off becoming a mercenary/hitman (better pay), or robbing a bank (again, better pay).
The training in the FFL is brutal, the life is Spartan. The reality is not at all glamorous.
If you make it you will be sent into combat repeatedly.
You are not seen as a real French soldier and are considered expendable. Cannon fodder for high risk and unpleasant missions.
Your risk of serious injury or death is very real.
You are very likely to be sent into some shit hole in Africa to fight in support of France's economic interests.
If you make it 5 years, congratulations, you are now a 3rd rate French citizen looked down upon by "real" French.

"Me llaman el desaparecido
Que cuando llega ya se ha ido
Volando vengo, volando voy
Deprisa deprisa a rumbo perdido"
(This post was last modified: 02-02-2015 07:03 PM by VolandoVengoVolandoVoy.)
02-02-2015 07:02 PM
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Brian Shima Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
Volando what happens if an American guy gets a European pregnant, Is he automatically allowed to live in that country with no problems?
02-02-2015 07:14 PM
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VolandoVengoVolandoVoy Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
(02-02-2015 07:14 PM)Brian Shima Wrote:  Volando what happens if an American guy gets a European pregnant, Is he automatically allowed to live in that country with no problems?

Depends on the country and the woman. Unless you are already some sort of legal resident, you are going to need to wife up the woman to make an anchor baby a path to citizenship. If someone were to go that route, their best bet is Norway or Sweden, both very wealthy countries with huge social safety nets that will pay for everything.

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Que cuando llega ya se ha ido
Volando vengo, volando voy
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02-02-2015 07:31 PM
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LouEvilSlugger Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
(02-02-2015 07:02 PM)VolandoVengoVolandoVoy Wrote:  Joining the FFL is a terrible idea.
From the 3rd world and just want citizenship? Knock up or marry some European or American bitch.
On the other hand, if you really really don't know what to do with your life, and have decided you are willing to use violence as a jump start to a new life, you are better off becoming a mercenary/hitman (better pay), or robbing a bank (again, better pay).
The training in the FFL is brutal, the life is Spartan. The reality is not at all glamorous.
If you make it you will be sent into combat repeatedly.
You are not seen as a real French soldier and are considered expendable. Cannon fodder for high risk and unpleasant missions.
Your risk of serious injury or death is very real.
You are very likely to be sent into some shit hole in Africa to fight in support of France's economic interests.
If you make it 5 years, congratulations, you are now a 3rd rate French citizen looked down upon by "real" French.
You sound like you really have no idea how French society works. There's no stigma about being a légionnaire or not in France. Légionnaires, and career soldiers in general, are extremely well regarded by the French commoner despite what you might think. Even moreso because the FFL is one of the elite and most prestigious units in the French military. I think only chasseurs alpins (moutain warfare) have a more brutal training.

Everything doesn't strictly revolve around pay, some foreigners have always loved France and it's culture and history and the FFL allows you to serve and protect France (yes, this also means economic interests). The FFL will let allow you to start from scratch or simply turn your life around.
02-02-2015 08:01 PM
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
Volando thank you my friend will appreciate the info Smile
02-02-2015 08:15 PM
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RexImperator Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
I dunno... I have a friend who is French and once when I told him I was thinking of joining he said, "No, don't do that, it's full of criminals and you'll have to eat shit!"

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02-02-2015 08:23 PM
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VolandoVengoVolandoVoy Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
(02-02-2015 08:01 PM)LouEvilSlugger Wrote:  You sound like you really have no idea how French society works. There's no stigma about being a légionnaire or not in France. Légionnaires, and career soldiers in general, are extremely well regarded by the French commoner despite what you might think. Even moreso because the FFL is one of the elite and most prestigious units in the French military. I think only chasseurs alpins (moutain warfare) have a more brutal training.

Everything doesn't strictly revolve around pay, some foreigners have always loved France and it's culture and history and the FFL allows you to serve and protect France (yes, this also means economic interests). The FFL will let allow you to start from scratch or simply turn your life around.

Sorry, but the information I have gleaned from conversations with French friends and reading a book or two indicates otherwise. While there is a great degree of nationalism and support for the military, there is a strong stigma about the legion in France. It is regarded as a bunch of uncouth mostly criminal foreigners.
Ordinary french people are not interested in talking to someone wearing the legionnaire uniform (which you are required to do at all times during your first five years, even when on leave).

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Que cuando llega ya se ha ido
Volando vengo, volando voy
Deprisa deprisa a rumbo perdido"
(This post was last modified: 02-02-2015 08:50 PM by VolandoVengoVolandoVoy.)
02-02-2015 08:45 PM
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Post: #21
RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
I know a dude who joined, he was young and wanted adventure. He wasn't a bad kid, sadly I lost touch with him.

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02-02-2015 08:53 PM
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Cattle Rustler Offline
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
"reading a book or two"

Laugh3

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02-02-2015 10:08 PM
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
The FFL has a bad reputation because traditionally it has served as a place for low-lives to forge a new identity and abandon everything that came before their service in the Legion but it's nothing like that now. Yes, most volunteers are guys seeking an adventure and/or failures in their respective countries but they are certainly not criminals (or at least not murderers or drug traffickers) since the Legion makes sure to run a background test on every aspirant through Interpol.
02-02-2015 10:14 PM
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
Thanks for the story, OP. They might have let you go because of your youth and your parent's diplomatic status. Maybe they thought there would be a diplomatic hassle when your parents found out.

You maybe could have joined the Spanish armed forces, including the Spanish Legion:

Spanish armed forces: foreign enlistment

I knew an Irish guy who was retired from the FFL. He had a French wife, kids and a nice house in the south of France, and was making good money as a private security close protection guy in Iraq.
02-03-2015 05:37 AM
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RE: A French Foreign Legion Datasheet
(02-02-2015 10:08 PM)Cattle Rustler Wrote:  "reading a book or two"

Laugh3

What's wrong with a book? The books I read were written by people who were in the FFL. It generally takes a long time and a lot of effort to write a book. The whole point is to transmit your experience to others in a significant way.
I've also read some articles that contained valuable information.
If only people who have actually served in the FFL are worthy of commenting about it, then no one, including you and the original poster, should be posting in this thread.

"Me llaman el desaparecido
Que cuando llega ya se ha ido
Volando vengo, volando voy
Deprisa deprisa a rumbo perdido"
02-03-2015 06:31 AM
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