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 enough 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 summarized the important points here.
- No felons
- No new citizenship under new identity
- Most applicants are rejected
The Legion that you read about is not yesterday’s Legion. Originally conceived 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 which was created almost two centuries ago. You must provide 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 do care if you’re a wanted man and you will be turned over the appropriate authorities.
The mortality rate of the Legion is around 10% over the past century and 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.