Medical tests in the French Foreign Legion

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Medical Tests in the French Foreign Legion

In this article, you’ll find all the relevant information you have to know about the medical tests in the French Foreign Legion. The medical tests are part of the pre-selection process that everyone has to pass who wants to join the French Foreign Legion.

Before you pass to the main part of this article, note that nobody can answer your personal medical questions, but a military doctor. Even if you send an e-mail to a recruiter of the French Foreign Legion, he won’t be able to give you an exact answer. If I were in his place, I wouldn’t even take the responsibility to give you a different answer than this:

  • I’m sorry, but only a military doctor will be able to answer this question after the medical examinations.

So, you can pop up the next question. – Okay, but what can you tell me in this case about the medical tests.

I can summarize all the available data and share everything I saw during the 8 years I passed as a Legionnaire. I hope that my personal experience and all this description are going to give you a better idea about the medical requirement of the French Foreign Legion.

Medical tests in the French Foreign Legion

Throughout the pre-selection process, you’ll pass several medical examinations. You’ll do your “welcome to the FFL pull-ups” and the following days a doctor will examine you. This happens in Paris or Aubagne before you sign your contract.


He’ll look for serious problems such as:

  • cancer 
  • missing fingers
  • any signs of heavy drug addiction
  • blood, protein or glucose in your pee
  • or any other visible medical problems

I’ve already wrote about an awkward experience, when a doctor had to check if I have testicular cancer. This was in Fort de Nogent, where my adventure begun. During the same medial check, the doctor will establish a general health assessment. This medical profile formula, called SYGICOP, will determinate your general aptitude. 

What is SIGYCOP?

The SIGYCOP is a medical profile, determining the medical aptitude of a candidate willing to join the French Army (or the French Foreign Legion in our case). After a medical visit, the military doctor gives a score of 1 to 6 (except P: from 0 to 5) to each of the seven components of the SIGYCOP. The seven number together will represent your medical profile. Depending on this result, you’ll be declared fit or not fit for service. The required score varying according to the units and specialty you want to choose.

The letters in SIGYCOP

LetterScore Concerned area
S1 to 6Scapular belt and upper limbs
I1 to 6Pelvic girdle and lower limbs
G*1 to 6General condition
Y1 to 6Eyes and vision (chromatic sense excluded)
C1 to 5Chromatic sense
O1 to 6Ears and hearing
P0 to 5Psychism

G*: The assessment of the general condition isn’t limited to general physical robustness. The doctor will check your body mass index (BMI), heart, lung, teeth and make you a pee test. He has to be sure, that your urine doesn’t contain more protein, blood or glucose than the normal level. Any affection, evolving or not, can also influence the coefficient attributed to G when it affects the organism. An example: if you have a poor sight and you got Y5, your G score won’t be 1.

The minimum score to join the French Foreign Legion

SIGYCOP
3235430

Note the following things:

  • Your teeth have to be in good condition. You shouldn’t leave to France with tooth decay
  • The “P” will be reexamined at the end of the basic training. It has to be “1” to be able to continue your career after the probation period
  • You have to be apt for OPEX and overseas missions
  • Representing any contradiction to necessary vaccinations makes you definitively inapt for service

A few diseases making you definitively inapt:

The following specialties require specific medical aptitudes

Specialty/FunctionS I G Y C O P
Armored vehicle pilot3 2 3 3 3 3 1
Infantryman2 2 2 5 4 3 1
Combat swimmer/diver*1 1 1 2 2 2 1
Paratroopers (2°REP)*2 1 2 3 3 2 1
Mountain troops (2°REG)*2 2 2 4 4 2 1

Wearing contact lenses are prohibited in 2°REP and 2°REG. If you want to join 2°REG, your body mass index (BMI) has to be under 26 and your height between 1,60m – 1,96m.

The paratrooper aptitude

Those who want to join 2°REP after the basic training must be able to withstand the physical and environmental constraints directly linked to the jump and complete a specific physical requirement like the “TAP test”. 

The morphological profile must meet the following criteria:

  • A height less than 1,60 m or more than 2,05 m isn’t compatible with the practice of military parachuting
  • For a height between 1,60 m and 1,95 m, your weight must be between 55 kg and 90 kg
  • For a height between 1,95 m and 2,05 m, the body mass can fluctuate up to 105 kg

On an initial visit, the BMI can reach 27 if someone is particularly muscular.

The spine check

A radio-clinical examination will determine your aptitude for military parachuting. The radiographic examination of the spine includes:

  • a front telerachis;
  • the three spinal segments (cervical, dorsal, lumbar) in profile

You’ll got these photographs at the end of the basic training. I found them when I was emptying my locker a few months ago. The clinical examination of your spine includes:

  • a rigorous control in search of a painful vertebral past with or without current event
  • a careful clinical examination of the spine (static and dynamic examination and palpation of everything the spinal axis)
  • an appreciation of the abdominal and vertebral muscles

Note that if you had a refractive eye surgery in the past six months before the determination of your aptitude will cause a temporarily inaptitude. If you had this type of eye surgery before your 21st birthday, it means that you can’t become a paratrooper. (Source: INSTRUCTION N° 700/DEF/DCSSA/PC/MA page 13-14)

What can you do to avoid medical inaptitude?

If you’re living a normal healthy life, joining the French Foreign Legion isn’t going to be a problem. As you saw the SIGYCOP description, you don’t have to be perfect. If you have glasses or you have a scar on your right leg because your neighbor’s dog bate you, that’s not a problem.

Don’t take drugs and drink too much alcohol and everything will be fine. For those who are practicing sport at a higher level have to make a particular attention on the quantity of protein they eat. If the level of protein in your urine is higher than the normal, you’ll be declared as temporarily inapt for service. You won’t be able to go back until a civilian doctor didn’t check if everything is okay with your kidney or not. 

I hope you found helpful this article and if you have any intelligent question, don’t hesitate to ask under the post. If I find something new about the medical tests, I’ll update this post so keep coming back and read the comments. 

Sources:

Bulletin Officiel des Armées PDF FILE

French Army recruitment instructions 

23 Comments

  1. Very useful all the information, my friend, i have a question, if I had to have eye surgery, do I have to carry a certificate?/ Thank u

  2. hi I wanted to ask you about things. 1. the combat swimmer in which regiments are located? 2. if I select a regiment like the 2rep and I don’t have the requisites to enter, do they send me home or do they make me choose another regiment? 3. If I visit with contact lenses at the visits, will I have problems?

    • Hey,
      1. 2reg 1reg and 2rep have combat swimmers
      2. They make you choose another regiment
      3. I don’t know how it goes for contact lenses, but I think they’ll ask you to pass the examen without.

  3. Good Evening,

    Love the posts incredibly helpful ! Great insight into the ffl

    I realise you can’t give a definitive answer from a medical point of view just speculate, but I had c6/7 surgery were they put a plate in my vertebrae i have no ongoing condition it was 9 years ago im now 28 completely fit and healthy, would this in your opinion disqualify me from attempting to join the ffl . I had my eyes on 2 rep looking to join from UK by end of July.

    With Regards
    Ernest

    • Helo Ernest,

      Unfortunately I can’t give you a straight answer for your question. I think that if you are healthy and in a good shape, you can give a try and the military doctor will decide what kind of jobs you’ll be able to do after.

  4. Hi
    I have 2 missing teeth and some decaying but front line is okay. Does this mean I won’t qualify to be in the FFL? What are the requirements other than the €3000.

  5. Hi mate,

    I posted a question before in regards to having metal plates in my ankles and I appreciate that’s not something you would be able to answer, so thank you for sharing anyway.

    I do still have one question. How thorough was your medical examination when joining?

    Thanks again

    • Hey,

      The medical test isn’t something very mysterious thing. If you are healthy, you don’t take drugs and you are in a good shape, you won’t have any problem. I’ve always got 1 everywhere during my service.

  6. i have scars on my face from a couple of fighs and and my arms have hand signs from work
    is that a problem?

  7. Hello. I wanted to know if the doctor makes a x-ray on your teeth in the first medical test in PILE and in Aubagne? Thank you.

    • Hey, no not in the pile that’s sure. If I remember well, they’ll do the x-ray of your spine and teeth once you are got in.

  8. Aron, I apologize if you basically answered this question already: I factored my BMI and it calculated to 29.2. However I am not “fat” but am considered “overweight” by BMI chart. I can do at least 12-15 pull ups, at least 50 push-ups without stop, and I can run a descent mile ( I live in the US and these are typical measures). Im trying to figure if I should put significant emphasis on losing weight before showing up to France. Thanks again.

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