I am constantly reading people recommending the French Foreign Legion as a way of expatriating, but they’re giving incorrect information. I’ve gotten tired of trying to correct people that I’ve put together this page of myths as an easy reference. If you want to learn more about the Legion, you can learn more about them at their Web site, watching this documentary, or reading this article, but I’ve summarised the important points here.
- No felons
- No new citizenship under a new identity
- Most applicants are rejected from joining the elite fighters.
The Legion that you read about is not yesterday’s Legion. Conceived initially as an extra fighting force for the French, one which could take “difficult” people, today’s Legion exists in a different world than the one created almost two centuries ago. You must provide a valid ID when you join, and a criminal background check with Interpol and your home country will be performed. The Legion doesn’t care if you’ve made mistakes; they care if you’re a wanted man and you will be turned over to the appropriate authorities.
The mortality rate of the Legion has been around 10% over the past century. As a much smaller force than it formerly was, they only accept about one in eight candidates, so even if you think you qualify, there’s a good chance you’ll be rejected.
If you still want to give it a try, I recommend reading Life in the French Foreign Legion: How to Join and What to Expect When You Get There.