Coronavirus: how it affects the French Foreign Legion ?

7 mins read
Basis in the desert

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the French Foreign Legion stopped all recruitment for an undetermined period. The borders in France are closed. The French government asks the people to stay at home.

As a response to the coronavirus, the French Foreign Legion and other parts of the French Army suspended all recruitment processes.

The French Navy and Airforce continue to inform their candidates, but their recruitment process is different than at the French Foreign Legion.

For the moment, I don’t have any information about the restart. I’ll keep you updated as the Coronavirus situation evolves via this blog. (further information on the official recruitment page)

UPDATE (1 May 2020):

However the recruitment process is still suspended due to the Coronavius, the French Foreign Legion set up a new procedure. So from now, you can fill out THIS form to inform the recuitment center of your arrival. It doesn’t let you enter France before the end of the lockdown, it’s just a preregistration form.

You’ll find the following options on the form to fill:

  • Name, Place of bith, Nationality, Date of birth, Country, E-mail, address etc…
  • Présent en France (in France or no) – yes or no
  • Prêt a se lancer dans processus (ready to start the process) – You have options in which you have to state when you will be ready for the process to start varying from immediate to within six months
  • Lieu de convocation choisi (selected place of meeting) –   Paris, Aubagne or other recruiting centers
  • Disponible à aprtir de (available from) –    When are you going to be available
  • Observations à porter à la connaissance des recruteurs (observations to bring to the recruiters) – You can write what you think is useful for the recruitment

The FFL also recommends you to take the following things I already mentioned on my joining page.

Recruitment opens from 11th May 2020

The French Foreign Legion reopens the recruitments and ready to welcome you again, from May 11, 2020. You still need to send your application form and a recruiter will contact you. You can’t go to a recruitment center if you don’t have your convocation. This will allow a recruitment in strict compliance with health measures related to COVID-19.

The inscription for the commemoration of the 157th anniversary of the combat of Camerone is also suspended.

For the moment, only members of the French Foreign Legion are going to participate.

We have a bit more than a month left until the ceremony, so it would be difficult to predict anything. All courses and trainings are also suspended. Last week I was 900km away from my regiment, but everyone had to go back to the base. This was a very bad news for the most of us, but especially for those from 2°REP.

It’s not an easy task at all to come to the continent with bags for 2 months, but leave after a week of training. A company from 2°REG was on an international exercise in Norway, called Cold Response with other troops of the 27° Mountain Infantry Brigade.

They finished the exercise, but the program had to change a little bit to avoid physical contact as much as possible between the participants.·The 6°BLB is actually operating in the Sahel-Sahara zone since February. This unit contains 3 regiments of the French Foreign Legion.

The 2°REI, 1°REC and 1°REG. Nowadays a mandate lasts approximately four months, but this time the actually engaged units probably have to spend 4 weeks more in abroad.

A few weeks of delay is normal when we participate in any operation. On the other hand, a delay of more than 4 weeks could affect a mandate more significantly. If the commandment think there is enough time left for another operation, they won’t hesitate to launch one more.

How life has changed in the barracks?

The Ministry of Defense launched “Operation Resilience” and each regiment prepared or sent a company to protect sensible points like hospitals or factories.
Due to the disease, the regiment’s life has changed a little bit. We can’t eat face to face each other, run outside of the base or organize an instruction in a classroom.

The clubs in the company’s buildings are closed and some services like the kitchen or the mechanics are working with half of their effective.

UPDATE (13 April 2020 at 8:26 PM)

After Emmanuel Macron’s speech, the boders are staying closed until 11 May 2020. We don’t dispose any information about when exactly the FFL relaunch the recruting processes, but it’s probably won’t happen before this summer. I’ll try to give you as many information as I can, so stay tuned.

UPDATE (15 April 2020 at 10:06 AM)

I just talked with a friend working as an instructor in Castelnaudary and told me that the basic trainings continue as before with small changes in order to preserve the health of legionnaires.
So don’t worry, if your friend, husband or son went to France to join the FFL before the lockdown, probably he is in Castel now. He’ll be able to make his first call at the end of the farm.
Example: he went to France on the 9th March 2020. The selections take around 3 weeks, leaving to Castel and waiting a bit until your platoon is complete +2 weeks. The training at the farm is 4 weeks so you can count around 9-11 weeks until his first call.

If you have questions, leave a comment and I will reply as soon as possible! But until click HERE to start my blog from the beginning.


  1. Hello, thank you for all the information.
    My son entered the FFL in Aubagne in the beginning of March, I have not heard anything from him to date. Which to me and from the information I can find is good news and should he be busy with basic training. Unfortunately with the Corona lockdown, I am sure things have changed. I would just like to know whether he would be busy with basic training currently?

    • Hello,
      You shouldn’t worry about your son, probably he is doing his basic trainings in Castel as you said. Once he is enlisted, he has everything he needs. Food, accomodation and doctors if necessary, so everything should be okay. Either way, in a real case of emergency, his chiefs would call you.

    • Hello Aron,
      Ok so just as we thought everything was going very well! My son made contact, he has hurt his shoulder and can no longer continue with his basic at the farm.
      He should return to Aubagne this week and only once he has his phone will I hears from him again.
      No worse time than during the Covid -19 lockdown.
      Will he be kept inside till lockdown is over? I have tried finding more info on accommodation etc in France, but all seems to be closed! This is really a great concern that he will be put out and will have nowhere to go

    • Thank you for your answer. Don’t be afraid, the FFL will give him food and accommodation until the borders are closed.

  2. My son entered on 28th jan, have not heard anything- which to us is- no news is good news. From everything I have read, it’s his 11th week this week-So with a bit of luck we should get a phone call soon. Thank you for your blog, it has helped me understand the training more and what it entails. It has made me very proud of what me son is achieving.

    • Can I ask you to update us once your son called you? It could help others in the same situation.
      The only thing I hope that he knows your phone number, because due to the lockdown he won’t have access to internet for a while but to an old fix phone (or télécabine)

  3. Thank you for your quick response- Of course I will let you know- it’s a long wait- but for the first time ever- I’ve not wanted to hear from him as that would mean he has not been successful in his dream. he took his mobile, but he also wrote numbers down in a book- just incase he couldn’t access his mobile . So fingers crossed. I will keep you posted. Stay safe.

  4. i have a medical question ..?can i get selected ifi have a cracking sound in my knee but i am in good shape i can run very fast and im sble to do all fitness tests…also is it true now that the legion has application forms

    • Hey,
      the doctor will decide if that is a problem or not. It’s true for the application form, I updated the post with a short explanation

  5. Hi, I am looking to join this autumn and I have an elbow surgery that I did when I was younger, I am perfectly healthy and it doesn’t affect me in any way but it is a visible scar from the incision. Will that be a problem during the selection process ? Should I take an x-ray with me to prove that I am not affected by it ?

  6. I would like to take this chance to thank the work ur soing. Am Byaruhanga Bruno from Africa Uganda. FFL is my dream almost every day please what can I do? Thank u so much

  7. Hi, i am a South African student wanting to join the French foreign Legion as soon as possible i already know someone in the legion but i have been told that the FFL is not accepting anyone from foreign countries now because of covid please can you update me on what is the real story behind this as i would like to start applying for my visas to get to France and start, thanks

  8. Hi I’m planning on leaving Britain next month to join the legion but I am unsure of if I still turn up unannounced or not at present?

  9. Hi I am thinking of joining the FFL, do I need to do an online application? Also you are only permitted to travel to France for an exceptional reason, would saying to join the FFL be a legitimate reason.
    Kind Regards

    • Hey,

      no online application needed, but i don’t think that joining is a legitimate reason for travelling these days. Good luck

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