How much money the French Foreign Legion pays in 2023?

7 mins read
Pay in French Foreign Legion

It’s not a simple question. As you will see, the pay is somewhere between 1300€ and 7000€. How much they pay you in the French Foreign Legion depends on many factors such as rank, family situation, qualifications etc. The salary is higher while you are on operation in abroad.

Some details about the pay in the French Foreign Legion

Before you pass to the tables, let me to explain you some details. Many people think that a Legionnaire makes as much money as a member of the famous Blackwater mercenary organization. Wrong.

A Legionnaire doesn’t make more money as a normal soldier in the regular French Army. The rules are the same for us, nothing more and nothing less.

A program called “SourceSolde” calculates the salary for everyone according to his actual military and family situation.

The military situation

It covers everything, which concern the person in the army, like:

  • Rank,
  • Years of service,
  • Years in a rank,
  • Qualifications etc.

My whole story in the French Foreign Legion is available on AMAZON Kindle

The family situation

It means if a person

  • is married,
  • having children,
  • living in town,
  • since when he joined his unit etc.

I wanted to stay simple, but in the same time I want to let you estimate the best possible the salary of a French soldier. For this, I took a single man, living in the barrack for each rank. 

Salary of single man living in the barrack

RankMinimum Salary Maximum Salary
Legionnaire1348 €
Caporal1355€ 1370€
Caporal-chef1366€ 1770€
Sergent-chef1484€ 1944€
Adjudant1846€ 2046€
Adjudant-chef1997€ 2175€
Major2111€ 2345€

The salaries during a deployment, still for a single man. 

RankMinimum Salary Maximum Salary
Caporal-chef3514€ 3829€
Sergent3598€ 3800€
Sergent-chef3760€ 4946€
Adjudant3922€ 5189€
Adjudant-chef4838€ 5534€
Major5037€ 5990€

Pay of a single parachutist 

RankMinimum Salary Maximum Salary
Caporal2074€ 2089€
Caporal-chef2078€ 2485€
Sergent-chef2144€ 2599€
Adjudant2200€ 2714€
Adjudant-chef2586€ 2843€
Major2660€ 3011€

Salary of a single parachutist during a deployment

RankMinimum Salary Maximum Salary
Caporal4170€ 4241€
Caporal-chef4180€ 5285€
Sergent4212€ 4465€
Sergent-chef4374€ 5611€
Adjudant4468€ 5864€
Adjudant-chef5514€ 6214€
Major5717€ 6670€

Pay in the French Foreign Legion E-book

I’m not only sharing my original paychecks in this E-book, but I’m also talking about how my career and personal life evolved during my years in the French Foreign Legion. The e-book makes 36 pages with more than 10 pages of stories and explanations.

Operational absence bonus

Probably the most important factor your salary depends on. This bonus exists since January 2022 and supposed to be more advantageous than the old field service premium.

How can you get it?

You only have to be unable to go back to your room/home between 23pm and 5am. So, even if you are on a training in your regiment during these hours, you’ll be paid more. Here are the amounts :

Exercice in France

Add 10€ if the activity is under operational control

Exercice out of France

Add 10€ if the activity is under operational control

NOTE: The paratroopers can get this new bonus since January 2022, but there’s probably going to be a change on the paratrooper premium in 2023.

More about this bonous (ISAO)

The high mountain premium

A new bonus has been introduced since April 2019 for qualified soldiers of mountain troops, which concerns the 2°REG in the French Foreign Legion. (This premium cannot be combined with the paratrooper’s bonus).

High mountain team leader Leader of high mountain detachment Military mountain guide instructor
+115€/month +230€/month +350€/month

You need to take into account that I only have taken the salary for those who are living in the regiment. So, for a caporal of the French Foreign legion means that he doesn’t have to pay anything but his food for Friday night and the weekend, because he has a lunch and dinner each day and the rooms are for free in the regiment.

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During a year in a combat unit you pass at least 4 months on field service, 2 months on Vigipirate (the “counter-terrorist” mission in France), 4 months on a training or in the regiment and 2 months on holiday. So each time you are on mission somewhere else, you make more money.

In some forums people sometimes say that the pay is bad in the FFL

Yes, you aren’t gonna be the next Bill Gates if you are serving as a simple soldier in any army of the world, that’s for sure. You are working occupied way more, than normal people and probably make less money.
BUT, France isn’t a 3rd world country and people are living a normal life from a soldier’s salary.
When I was a legionnaire, I could spare over 30% of my pay and lived a very easy life. I travelled in Europe, ate in restaurants, bought the latest phone etc…

Questions to ask

  • How much money do I have to make in my own country if I want to easily spare around 650 euros a month?
  • What kind of job will allow me to spare around 650 euros a month without any diplom and experience?

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Thank you for reading! If you have any further question about the salary, please leave a comment below. If you didn’t read my stories on the blog, here is the first chapter


    • 1348 euro is around 1450 dollars nowadays. You can count +35 dollars for each day on the field. In an average year we do around 150 days on the field (+5250usd/year) if you don’t go on mission. You need to take into account that you don’t pay for food during the week and the accommodation is provided.
      For further information you can use this link to count your salary during a 4 months long opex for example :

    • Do I need to pay for food in the barracks? Also, can I spend the weekends at the barracks? Is every weekend fully free or may I be summoned to the base? Am I free in friday’s night or saturday morning? Can I travel freely around Europe if I notify my superiors? Sorry for the multitude of questions.

  1. Are all regiments do that ave. 150 days on field? if they don’t have opex for instance, or there were regiments that will literally sit within their reg. for the whole 365 days? Thank you

    • In a year when a “combat” unit doesn’t go on mission abroad, it will probably reach the 150 days out of the regiment. It’s especially true in 2REI and 2REG. My company will pass 3 months on the field and 4 months on Vigipirate (Operation Sentinelle) in France. You have to take into account, that I’m talking about combat units. If you are in logistic it can be around 30 – 60 days a year at max.

  2. Ive red on one of your article here that you already get paid few days after you get in. I am assuming that ofcourse legionnaires get paid during the 4 months basic training.Are they already starting to earn the base pay that you have indicated above, or how and how much are they getting paid during the basics?

    • Hey, I’ll look for the exact answer and will update the post, but a Legionnaire in 3REI earns around 500 euros more, than in France.

    • Are you sure it’s only $500 more in the 3REI? Some guys on youtube inform they get around $35k per year which equals to almost $3k per month. It that’s not the case then what’s the point of leaning towards leaving in a jungle for 3 years for almost the same money, what do you think?
      Also, thanks a lot for such an informative inputs on the LE subject.

    • 35k a year isn’t far from the reality. Guys in 3rei have 500 euros extra on their paycheck, but don’t forget that you can easily spend 200 to 250 days in the rainforest which counts as field mission a’d means extra money.
      You also get 5k when you arrive and 5k when you leave.

    • p.s. sorry, I meant EUR, not dollar, when I was replying to above comment. Thus, please nevermind the $ sign.

    • Hey Aron,
      Thank you for responding on that matter. I’m considering purchasing your book now in hope of getting more precise figures regarding the 3rei. Could you please inform whether it will include detailed info regarding the pay in 3rei or not? Also, one last question, is it true that one could be sent to the 3rei in summer only, meanwhile there is no chance in late autumn/winter?

    • You can join 3rei directly if you finish the basic training between May and September, so yes, you can’t go there in late autumn or in winter.

      In the ebook I’m mostly talking about my salary and how my life was going while I was in the FFL, but since I’ve only done a short mission in Guyana, I can’t tell you how much you’ll exactly earn there, but the 35k isn’t unrealistic.

    • Can I spare all the money I get every month in the all 5 years ? Or do I need to spend some for food or something? And how many years I need to serve for getting citizenship for sure

  3. Hi, enjoy reading your articles keep it up wanna read some of stories while on deployment.

    Is pay done in cash? Does the Legion have its own system of deposit salary? I would assume it would be hard to open a bank account seeing as legonaires aren’t French.


    • Hey,

      No, on the contrary. When you enlist, the FFL helps you to open a bank account so you can receive your first salary at the end of the first month. You’ll also get your bank card right after the farm.

    • Hello, thanks for the answers Aron.Which is the best regiment to live , i mean the location like calvi or nimes ,to spend your free time when you are not deployed?

    • Hey,
      The best are probably Nîmes, Carpiagne. Laudan and Castel could be okay for some type of people. Calvi, La Cavalerie (13 dble) and St. Christol are the worst to live. However, since corporals over 3 years of service can buy a car, things are getting better.

  4. Hey Aron, how easy is it to send money home for your kids while in the legion especially in the beginning? Oh and if you’re stationed in French Guiana can you travel to other parts of South American during vacation?

    • Hey, it’s not more complicated than if you would want to send money from your country to France. If you’re having family while you join, you just need to ask your hierarchy to allow you to send money once a month.
      And yes, you can travel from French Guyana wherever you want. Check out the destinations on Skyscanner

  5. Hello, thanks for the answers Aron.Which is the best regiment to live , i mean the location like calvi or nimes ,to spend your free time when you are not deployed?

  6. Hello Soldier,
    I am going through 3 week intense training then applying for recruitment. I have one small question. Can I consume and carry my Protein Powder, MODAFINIL* and basic medicines through the camp? Please let know. I would be grateful

    *Modafinil is a medicine used by NASA astronauts and many militaries during long missions to be awake, focus and concentrate more for ultimate performance.

    • Hey, not really. When you arrive in Aubagne, they’ll take all of your belongings and once you signed your contract, you’ll be able to take some basic stuff from your bag, like underwear, socks or a dictionary, but that’s all. I’d be surprised if you could actually could keep any drugs you bring into the recruitment center.

  7. Hi Aron,
    2 questions about the salary at the tables: Is it net salary, or gross salary? So taxes and e.g. insurance primes have to be paid from it?

    The “field service prime” is per day, right? (net or gross)?

    Thanks a lot…

    • Hey,
      Everything is in net in the tables and yes the field service prime is paid per day generally 2-3 months after the field mission ended. So if you did 20 days in August, you’ll get a bonus of approximately 640 euros in October or November.

      In May in each year, you have to declare your income and you’ll pay the taxes after your last year’s salary. It won’t be too much, I paid around 300-500 euros a year. It could be more if you go to French Guyana because people earn more money there. (+400 euros a month so around 1700 euros each month for a legionnaire, 6-8000 euros field service prime a year and 3×6000 euros of bonus for serving in South America. So you’ll be around 33000 euros a year which will bring you into a different tax category.

  8. One more question about the IAC.

    Is there are a mistake?

    You wrote: IAC = (25 × 10) + (25 × 25) + (3 × 50) = 650 €

    But the sum is 1.025 Euro, not 650 Euro ?!

    • Hey Aron
      You are really helping people around.Can u please tell me the salary of paratrooper .

  9. I have noticed that the Legion recruiters never ever give accurate and up to date information. The pay rates they quote are often 2 to 3 years out of date and the 45 days leave is never given until the 3rd year of service. 15 days eave is the usual during the first year of service and 30 days during the second year of service so in a 5 years contract a legionare would get 180 days total leave. I do not know if they get weekends off in Barracks are any other type of leave in addition to the annual leave. Pay in the garrison is bad and there is not much incentive for promotion when you see the pay of the sous officers compared to the rank and file. There may well be other additions to pay other than the extra pay when deployed on operations. They proberbly get a 75% discount of SNCF also and if the pay rates quoted are net of tax then it may not be to bad. I think though that Sous Officers may not get free food and may have mess bills to pay in addition.

    • Hey, I’d complete your comment with a few details.
      1. You have 45 days of holiday from your second year and you can take them off if your yearly program allows you to do so. You can be a corporal with 4 years of service, but if you have too much field missions and trainings you can’t take your days off. There’s no rule for this part.
      2. Same for the weekends. You can go out of the base even at a Wednesday night if you have nothing to do, like during the weekends.
      3. The sous-officiers don’t pay for lunch, but the dinner isn’t free for them like for legionnaires.
      4. You get a bonus during operation like I said in this article.
      5. People in the French armed forces have a 75% discount of SNCF. Officers and NCOs can use it even on first class.

  10. Thank you and it is good to have further clarity. The fact sous-officiers and commissioned officers can travel first class at a discount. The other information about time off is also useful.

    For those seeking a potential career in the french law enforcement agencies after the legion the following may be useful and it includes all the allowances and percentages paid in addition to the net monthly income.It is the English language translation version.

    https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=https://www.police-nationale.net/salaires/&prev=search&pto=aue French Police

    https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=https://www.police-nationale.net/salaires-gendarmerie/&prev=search&pto=aue French Gendarmerie

    https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=https://infos.emploipublic.fr/article/devenir-douanier-les-principaux-metiers-des-douanes-eea-7520&prev=search&pto=aue French Customs

    There are many of the worlds militaries that pay badly.The french earn less than the Germans and Danish,British and Irish armed forces but when deductions for tax and other things are taken into account, the net amount is very similar to the British and Irish.

  11. Thankfully nowadays legionaires have a bank account which saves most of their money being stolen by the more dodgy and unscrupulous legionaires. With free board and lodging a legionaire should be able to save a decent amount and be able to travel overseas on leave and still have plenty of savings left on his return. With the extra expenses incured as a sous officier is it really worth the hassle of attending and passing the promotion courses. More responsibility and some status but no real reward financially.

  12. Hello, if i have a degree in mechanical engineer how can i NOT end up in 2 engineer combat regiment in saint christol ,and how can i have more luck getting in 2 reg in Nimes ,it matters if i end up in the best 10 performances?thanks already for your answer

    • Nobody is going to care about your degree. You should finish between the firsts during the basic training and you just choose 2rei.

  13. hey, Aron so basically what difference does it make if you are holding a degree? I have 0 ideas of how things work in the selection. thank you

    • It doesn’t actually change anything during selection. It won’t be a plus if that’s what you want to know. In some cases it could even be a disadvantage. If you come from the USA and you’re having a university degree in engineering, you need to be extremely convincing if you want to join. The FFL is basicly looking for young guys who’ll stay for a long period.

    • thank you Aron for your reply, so basically it doesn’t give an advantage, but if I got accepted is there a special place for the engineer or they do the same work like everybody else?
      thank you

  14. So, what happens if i get killed? Will my savings be passed to my family? Will my body be sent back home? I know this isnt the nicest of toughts, but it is a combat position. Thank you for the article!

    • Hey,
      Yes, your savings will be transferred to a member you designed in your assurance. Your family will decide where you’ll be buried in this case, but if you don’t have anyone in your life, the FFL arranges everything.

  15. Hello,
    I’m very interested join FFL but I’m already married and have 2 kids. If I become legionaire can I send my pay to my wife and kids in home country? Because I’m moslem and have responsibility pay bills and their living cost.

    Thank you very much, If you willing the answer.

  16. hello i am planning to join FFL in october, i am just waiting my flying ticket, i am interesting what happens when u are getting Residence permit, can u take your wife and kid with u in france, or not? some guys told me rhar when i will get Residence permit, i can rent home and with helping of lawyer i can take my family with me, only if i will live out of base…is that true?

  17. Hey aron thanks for the information firstly,second can i choose my speciality in 2reg are there many like machinegunner,driver,(nurse is an interesting speciality can i say that i want to get that training).Third, of i was in the military police does it help to be a mp also in the legion and does the mp choose where to go and has overseas?

  18. Hey Aron, one question. I want to go in 1 month exactly.. Someone told me to go to marseille and join there and then everything goes on. Should I bring more money in case I need to return back? Should I get glasses since I have some small diopter or I don’t need them since I am not anyways wearing them?

    • Should I buy card in one way or return ticket in case. And for how long should I tell them on airport that I am planning to stay because I don’t have anyone and I am tourist. Can I just tell them I am going as a tourist or I can just go with that I am going to test myself for being legionnaire?everything is so confusing.

    • Hey,
      It’s pretty hard to know if you get in or not in advance, so I don’t think it’s a good idea. Either way, if you can’t join, you’ll have time think about this problem. However, it’s good to have some savings for a return trip.

  19. Hey Aron! I would like to know what happens to a legionnaire who gets seriously injured in combat. A legionaire has a life insurance, a retirement plan or something like that for theses situations?

  20. no es caro vivir en francia? es decir vivo en México y he leído que en Francia la renta fácilmente puede ir de 500 euros con mucha suerte ¿es necesario que rentes? ¿puedes vivir en el cuartel? había leído algo sobre acogida gratuita durante un tiempo…. que tan común es que te manden a una misión en el extranjero?

  21. Hey Aron.

    I have been thinking for some time now, to join the ffl. My question is more related to, how the standard salary is if you have a wife and kids, and they live in the country I’m coming from?
    I have read that they can come and live in some apartments nearby the base is that true?

    • Hey, if your family stays in the country you’re coming from your salary won’t change too much. Your family status will be taken into account, but the real change is when you decide to rent an apartment near to the base. For me it was 180 euros per month, but if you have kids it can go higher.

      Do note that it’s only possible after the first 5 years or if you become an NCO.

  22. Hello Aron, I was wondering if prior combat/fitness training would help climb to better positions or get privileges in the FFL or if that is only based on time served and how is the base you’re located in and job you are given decided? is it based on your skill sets and interests or is that randomly decided?

    • Not really. You can participate in this kind of events only if you are practicing that sport at a very high level.

      There are box clubs in the regiments, but I never had enough time to do any kind of sport via those clubs during the 8 years I passed in the FFL.

  23. Hello Aron….. I have few questions to ask….. 1st regarding physical exam, i have a denture does this affect my status to qualify? and if I have a hepa B, can this be a reason for automatic disqualification?2nd regarding salary, can a trainee get a salary for the 1st month of training? thanks and more power.

    • Hey, yes. I detailed this part in the ebook. You’ll start receiveng a basic salary from the day you signed your contract

  24. as speaking for the money, i roughly counted when i get out, i made ~90k during 5 yr, but walked out with 15k. the funny thing is i had 20k on my saving at my 1yr half and since then the number never climbs but even drops.
    well the hidden thing is, apart from a few people, the vast majority need extra expense to “stay normal” and the life of a legionnaire can be stressful and toxic in the beginning, and bored at its end. that cost money.
    so for those who are reading this blog, don;t expect too much on the money level.

  25. Hello , I am police officer from Greece with 11 consecutive years at service is that a bonus from my experience? And if I get in .. in how long I have a contract and to come back to Greece to inform my authorities for my permission .

    • The contract is for 5 year’s ,then you can apply for more years up to 19 years.You can come home every year for about 30-45 days.

  26. Hello Aron,
    First of all, thank you for sharing your experiences and thank you for giving some great advices, I learned a lot. But I do have a question. After finishing the basic training, will I be able to rent an appartment to live? See, I decided to join the Legion next year and my wife will apply for Campus France so she can graduate in France. Her studies will take around 3 or 4 years to finish. I ask this because I want to know if there is a possibility to live with her even if we dont see each other a lot. Thank you in advance.

  27. Hi Aron, it seems that the salary is a bit higher in 2021 than in 2020. In 2020 the “beginnig-salary” for a 2nd classe was 1.280 EUR, now it is 1.380 EUR (info at the official recruitment-site of the legion -https://www.legion-recrute.com/en/remuneration-benefits). Do you have the actual salaries for the other ranks? Thanks a lot for your interesting blog.

    • Yes and no actually. The pay is in ceasless changing since I joined and it’s true for 2021 as well, but it’s pretty hard to give you a 100% sure exact number. I coached some guys last year and those who actually went to France joined the Legion and on sent me a paycheck from January. He got 1369,33€

  28. Hey I’m a little confused on the earnings.

    So as a legionnaire straight out of training it’s the 1348€ pcm.

    Then say for example I am deployed to Africa do I then earn the 3423€ pcm and if I am deployed 150 days or more I then get the bonus on top of the 3423€ ????

    Also how long usually until you can become a corporal??


  29. Sorry to bother you Aron, but i have a question and i didn’t find any answers in internet.The salary expept 2rep that comes with the parachute bonus in the other regiments like 2REI the bonus from IAC how much is it a month ,and if it goes up to 2000 all together isn’t it enough to start a family in 30s?tThank from advance

    • Hey Greg,
      Contrarily to Artois’ case, you could find the answer in my ebook to your question. The salary in 2rei or 2reg are almost the same, so my example could be useful for you.

      Do note that at the beginning of your career in the FFL isn’t really compatible with family life, because you’ll pass the most of your time doing something (training, missions, field mission, service etc.)

  30. Hey Aron

    Do Legionnaires pay taxes?
    If so then what’s the percentage and is it the same as other regular French military.

    • It’s hard to answer this question, because it depends on your individual financial situation. In my case I pais like 2000 euros as tax during the 8 years

  31. Hola a todos… Quiero hacer una pregunta, porque despues de los 5 años muchoas legionarios salen da la legion?Why do many Legionnaires leave after 5 years? .

    • Hey,

      No, 3REI is better in term of money. In 3REI you’ll earn around 400 euros more in average if you are in a combat company.

  32. hello, what is the salary of 2rei and how much is rise during deplyment
    and 2 reg payment
    an ex legionaire told me that, he is sorry that he didn’t choice 2reg , because they make lot of missions
    and please tell me how much money should i take with me if i go to legion
    some sais i dont need much but i think i need to have some with me, to pay back the ticket of airplane, and food back home, and if i buy a ticket of airplane and fly same day, it might cost even 200 euros , so i was thinking to take with me 400 euros

    • hey,

      there’s no big difference between 2rei and 2reg in term of payment, if it’s not the premium for the mountain qualifications. You can see how much legionnaires earn during deployment in the tables.

      Don’t take too much money for joining, because you won’t pay your plane ticket by cash. Take your bank card and phone rather so you’ll be able to buy everything you’ll need on internet. You’ll get cash for each day you spent in the FFL once you signed your pre-contract.

  33. Hey sir thanks alot for your information……my name is insaf shahi. I m from nepalese army serving as a EOD member (bomb disposal team ). So if i get the chance to serve in bomb disposal regiment of ffl then how much can i earn????

  34. Hey Aron I just want to know which regiment is best to join for new legionaries .. is it 2rei or 2reg or 3REI …….. according to their salary nd which regiment gets more arm combate training then other ( not talking about physical )……

  35. one more question can a guy who had a LASIK eye surgery can join FFL or not?….. tnk u ARON…

  36. Even the best home appliances like Viking eventually need to be tuned up and repaired, so don’t worry, Just call low cost appliance repair at (847) 767 0547

  37. Thanks a lot for this info. Do we possibly know what are the salaries looking for sniper units?
    Also, what is the French tax rate in 2023 for these salaries, if you have any info to spare.

  38. Hello Aron, sorry I have a question… I am from Nigeria and I leave in France but I want to join the French legion but the problem is I only have my birth certificate so is it possible to join?

  39. I love Indian army iam soldiers in Indian army and aim ceecrfaice to6hinnesty Indian army I am 2nd battalion The Naga Regt in service my services 13 years ago I am joined to frence forgen army. Because some financial problem for my family back ground. So I love to frence forgen army. Thank you

  40. I have an auto-immune disease that is caused by stress and poor food, called candida overgrowth.
    it”s nothing in comparison to HIV, but I need to take some pills for a few months and my toenails look like nail fungus, but it’s not nail fungus but looks like athletes foot, but then again I am a 10+ years martial artist and could do 20 pull-ups etc. I am sure I will pass all exams, but this stupid candida overgrowth making me doubt myself.

    I assume I won’t be selected cuz of the silly toe-nail look alike disease that i am treating?

  41. hello, are you allowed to do youtube in free time? not speaking whats going on inside the legion, just total other things, like explain stuff, crafting, speaking about serial killer, speaking about animals, speaking about how to repair stuff etc etc. In free time i can rent a hotel room to have a quiet place to do it or if i wanna sleep all alone and no need the noise from the room where i sleep with another 30 guys. thhank you

  42. Did you have to in the army or any para-military in my home country for my to be qualified to join the French legion? Please I need an answer

  43. Do I have to be in the army or any para-military in my home country for me to be qualified to join the French foreign legion? Please

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