Bonjour from South Africa

Weishaupt

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Good morning members.

Young gentleman from South Africa here, hoping to join the FFL in Spring 2018. Have no military background (besides military camps in School), in the tech industry, healthy, fit and almost ready to make the travels happen. Have always wanted to be part of the military and not live a normal civilian life, but unfortunately I can't join the military in my own country (needs no more explaining, watch the news, South Africa is beautiful, but it's a joke).

I've been doing a lot of research over the past few years (yes, years!) about joining the FFL. There are few things that I can't find information on and I hope someone on the Forum could help me out here.

1. When you're finished (and still alive) after your 5 year contract and have the option to keep your French identity or take back your original identity. Could you keep both? Could I have duel citizenship or do you lose your one Identity COMPLETELY?


3. Do I keep my South African bank accounts etc and how do you work / put away your money once in France? Can one just open a bank account or do you have to make another plan or will you still use your South African bank account? (I'm asking because in order to go to France in the first place, you must have a return flight with enough money in the bank to support your visit and be able to come home again (to get your visa). So if you join FFL, what happens to all of your bank accounts, money etc. ??)

4. The medical and physical tests are fairly 'straight forward' to prepare for. Is there any idea or other way of emulating the mental/psychological tests before joining the FFL?

Any other tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Yours truly,
A Wannabe Legionair.
 
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SnafuSmite

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1. As far as I know you can keep your identity or use a French one, from what I've heard they will change your name to a more Frenchiefied, for lack of a better word, version of your name, but when you apply for French citizenship you have to use your original name. But hopefully the reds or greens can clarify a bit more.

2. Most of your questions can be answered on the Legion website, they list all the appearance guidelines and regulations. Here is a link to a pretty useful website. http://foreignlegion.info/joining/

3. The Legion is the last place to think about saving money, the Legion uses the French Postal Service as a Pay Station for Legionaires.

4. Follow Stoengs physical training program can be found in the stickys.

Most answers have been discussed on the forum. Use search and just browse in general.

Good luck.
 
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Weishaupt

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1. As far as I know you can keep your identity or use a French one, from what I've heard they will change your name to a more Frenchiefied, for lack of a better word, version of your name, but when you apply for French citizenship you have to use your original name. But hopefully the reds or greens can clarify a bit more.

2. Most of your questions can be answered on the Legion website, they list all the appearance guidelines and regulations. Here is a link to a pretty useful website. http://foreignlegion.info/joining/

3. The Legion is the last place to think about saving money, the Legion uses the French Postal Service as a Pay Station for Legionaires.

4. Follow Stoengs physical training program can be found in the stickys.

Most answers have been discussed on the forum. Use search and just browse in general.

Good luck.
Hey SanfuSmite,

Thanks again for the epic insight and advice.

1. Thank you, useful information.

2. I'll have a look again, I didn't see anything about gages. I understand the no jewlwery but will recheck for gaged ears.

3. Thank you. Minor details but still curious to know what to expect (in this regard at least). I don't see how one would need to or want to spend a lot of money when in the Legion? So logically it makes sense to try and put money away. But again, it's a minor thing actually.

4. Physical training is not a problem. Curios to know what 'mental health' tests they have in place and how one could emulate or self test prior to going. (but I'll use search first)

Thanks again. Will make better use of search before positng.
 

voltigeur

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Good morning members.

Young gentleman from South Africa here, hoping to join the FFL in Spring 2018. 28 years of Age, have no military background (besides military camps in School), currently working as a Senior Executive for a company in the tech industry, healthy, fit and almost ready to make the travels happen. Have always wanted to be part of the military and not live a normal civilian life, but unfortunately I can't join the military in my own country (needs no more explaining, watch the news, South Africa is beautiful, but it's a joke).

I've been doing a lot of research over the past few years (yes, years!) about joining the FFL. There are few things that I can't find information on and I hope someone on the Forum could help me out here.

1. When you're finished (and still alive) after your 5 year contract and have the option to keep your French identity or take back your original identity. Could you keep both? Could I have duel citizenship or do you lose your one Identity COMPLETELY?

2. Something I'm struggling to find an answer to online. I have 12 mm gages (earrings). First question is if this will be a problem in my application to the FFL? And if so, do they have to be closed 100%? (I know other militaries (US, Israel, USA etc) don't accept recruits if you can see through their ear holes (like not even 3mm) but find very little to no information on the rules for FFL specifically, but assuming it's the same) (I'm still asking because this is the most time consuming thing that keeps me from going to France and knocking on the door).

3. Do I keep my South African bank accounts etc and how do you work / put away your money once in France? Can one just open a bank account or do you have to make another plan or will you still use your South African bank account? (I'm asking because in order to go to France in the first place, you must have a return flight with enough money in the bank to support your visit and be able to come home again (to get your visa). So if you join FFL, what happens to all of your bank accounts, money etc. ??)

4. The medical and physical tests are fairly 'straight forward' to prepare for. Is there any idea or other way of emulating the mental/psychological tests before joining the FFL?

Any other tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Yours truly,
A Wannabe Legionair.
1) You have to take back your original identity. I am not sure if France allows dual citizenship, check with embassies.
2) more than likely they will reject you with those 50 cal. bullet holes in your ears.
3) The Legion opens a bank account for you to transfer your pay into it.
I would think that you can just leave your South African bank accounts as is and access them once you have completed your instruction and received a new bank card.
Any card that you take with you will be taken away and only returned if you leave/get rejected from the Legion.
I am sure the Legion will take a dim view if they know that you have an active foreign bank account.
4) I don't know
 
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Weishaupt

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Hey voltigeur, thank you for the time to reply. Really appreciate your insight and advice. One question, why do you say that the Legion will take a dim view if they know that I have an active foreign bank account? Do you suggest I close all / any active bank account before leaving my country rahter?

As you can imagine, the last thing I want is something small like, a bank account, to get in the way of me becoming a Legionaire. I'm trying to mitigate every possible thing that would prevent my application from being rejected.
 

voltigeur

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Hey voltigeur, thank you for the time to reply. Really appreciate your insight and advice. One question, why do you say that the Legion will take a dim view if they know that I have an active foreign bank account? Do you suggest I close all / any active bank account before leaving my country rahter?

As you can imagine, the last thing I want is something small like, a bank account, to get in the way of me becoming a Legionaire. I'm trying to mitigate every possible thing that would prevent my application from being rejected.
In my view, they might see it as a desertion risk.
 
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Weishaupt

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Thank you voltigeur. It makes logical sense then to close any bank accounts I have in South Africa.

On that note, wouldn't this cause issues for my 'travels?

From what I've read I'll be going to France with a visitors / chen gen visa, and South Africans are treated like terrorists at almost every single airport (even our own), so if I get questioned to where I'm going, staying etc...(some people suggest even booking accommodation and a return flight to ensure you get to go aboard from South Africa) They could ask for bank statements and in this case if I don't have them then I can't even get to the Legion which would be a very sad story. (I could take cash but also read in the forum not to take a lot of money with)

Would like to hear your view on this?

(I do need to do more research on this topic though (It's a lot of fine detail but very necessary to take into considiration).
 

SnafuSmite

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Thank you voltigeur. It makes logical sense then to close any bank accounts I have in South Africa.

On that note, wouldn't this cause issues for my 'travels?

From what I've read I'll be going to France with a visitors / chen gen visa, and South Africans are treated like terrorists at almost every single airport (even our own), so if I get questioned to where I'm going, staying etc...(some people suggest even booking accommodation and a return flight to ensure you get to go aboard from South Africa) They could ask for bank statements and in this case if I don't have them then I can't even get to the Legion which would be a very sad story. (I could take cash but also read in the forum not to take a lot of money with)

Would like to hear your view on this?

(I do need to do more research on this topic though (It's a lot of fine detail but very necessary to take into considiration).
Open a small savings account for that very reason. Pawn the rest of your stuff and put it in a 5 year fixed deposit, with either a family member or something as a signatory. It's a nightmare with us South Africans. Just getting there is a nightmare.
 

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HI
leave the ear tunnel out below 17mm it should over a year heal up I have a friend that has a tattoo and piercing studio, it is advise he gives clients when they are trying to stretch up and put large cylinder tunnels in the ear to be fashionable.
If you have a bank account in a different country you could leave it open all you need to do is walk into any bank to transfer money (branch, account, sort code) but that could have its on risks walls have eyes and ears!
As for medical checks things might have changed but I was not the full shilling, but times have changed so don't no guys that have left or serving would no as a hell of a lot now is not what it was like 30 odd years ago!
I had my name changed it was something I had not prepaired myself for at one of the 2x gestapo interviews I had my process took 15 weeks I was in amber if memory is correct (or one of the colours) on my shoulder for best part of ten weeks. They gave me a phone book I had to stick to the letter of my natural birth name so it had to be "F" as stated not prepaird when you get given a telephone book and your under a bit of presure as the interviews with gestapo tend to do that (it did me) as they hold the power if you are getting in or not,(other factors in the process can also fail you) wish now I had picked a better name I disliked it but I just looked down the page nervously and pointed at a name starting with F think they gave me the christian name.
hope it helps (my account) others may differ! as my own personal experience.
 

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They give you name from your country. With same initials as your real name. So if you don't like your new name, too bad. You can ask back your real name after year or two If you're good boy.
 

voltigeur

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Thank you voltigeur. It makes logical sense then to close any bank accounts I have in South Africa.

On that note, wouldn't this cause issues for my 'travels?

From what I've read I'll be going to France with a visitors / chen gen visa, and South Africans are treated like terrorists at almost every single airport (even our own), so if I get questioned to where I'm going, staying etc...(some people suggest even booking accommodation and a return flight to ensure you get to go aboard from South Africa) They could ask for bank statements and in this case if I don't have them then I can't even get to the Legion which would be a very sad story. (I could take cash but also read in the forum not to take a lot of money with)

Would like to hear your view on this?

(I do need to do more research on this topic though (It's a lot of fine detail but very necessary to take into considiration).
It is just my thinking that the Legion may take a dim view of having a foreign bank account.
It probably depends on how much cash is available to you on any given time.
Perhaps Charles Stoeng could give his opinion on this issue.
You can take as much cash with you as you want, the Legion will take it and leave you with a small amount to buy some needed essentials.
If you get rejected, you will get all of it back, if you get accepted, they will bank it for you and will be available to you after basic training.
I have saved several posts from this forum and placed them on my web site, if you care to look at them, the link is FFL INFO>letters & posts
 

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Hey voltigeur, thank you for the time to reply. Really appreciate your insight and advice. One question, why do you say that the Legion will take a dim view if they know that I have an active foreign bank account? Do you suggest I close all / any active bank account before leaving my country rahter?

As you can imagine, the last thing I want is something small like, a bank account, to get in the way of me becoming a Legionaire. I'm trying to mitigate every possible thing that would prevent my application from being rejected.
Having an active foreign bank account gives the impression that you did not leave all your ,past behind you (at least temporarily) and that you might too easily desert.

My advice : close it before going to the Legion

In any case, you would not be able to use that "foreign" bank account : your identity will be changed and you can only prove who you are using your Legion military identity card (CIM) with your Legion name on it !
 

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1) You have to take back your original identity. I am not sure if France allows dual citizenship, check with embassies.
France allows dual citizenship, I hope to have one soon !
 

Papillon

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They give you name from your country. With same initials as your real name. So if you don't like your new name, too bad. You can ask back your real name after year or two If you're good boy.
Are you for real buddy I had my name change. In my case I was given a telephone book full of names and numbers, and one thing I no it was NOT for Glasgow!it was FRENCH I don't understand how you come up with this also for the record it was my responsibility not to contact family or friends as if for example someone comes to the guard/gate and said they were looking for a guy called "Fred" (your old civilian name) and you had had it changed via the legion to "Fox" they can say they have no person with that name. But if the person said they were looking for Fred and he is now called Fox you loose the protection. Hope that makes sense.
have you had your name changed via the legion dusaboss? Did not think so!
 

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Are you for real buddy I had my name change. In my case I was given a telephone book full of names and numbers, and one thing I no it was NOT for Glasgow!it was FRENCH I don't understand how you come up with this also for the record it was my responsibility not to contact family or friends as if for example someone comes to the guard/gate and said they were looking for a guy called "Fred" (your old civilian name) and you had had it changed via the legion to "Fox" they can say they have no person with that name. But if the person said they were looking for Fred and he is now called Fox you loose the protection. Hope that makes sense.
have you had your name changed via the legion dusaboss? Did not think so!
I didn't. But you're the first guy I'm hearing that he got name out of his nationality. Maybe is that practices more common than I knew.
 

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I didn't. But you're the first guy I'm hearing that he got name out of his nationality. Maybe is that practices more common than I knew.
It is always the case : you are not going to name an English speaking Canadian "Kowalski", although that could be the case !

one of the guys I was with during instruction was a Frenchman called Tony Dos S..., they made him Luiz Diaz and he hated it ! He needed more than three years of service to be rectified and to go back to his original name ! But this original name sounded Spanish or Portuguese to the SGT in charge of giving new names where we were there !

I was born in New zealand but my parents moved to Canada when I was less than one year. Despite that I have and Englsih type name with initials E.. (first name) T... (last name) and I don't mention my exact name here ! In Aubagne I became Mark Turpin !
 

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Are you for real buddy I had my name change. In my case I was given a telephone book full of names and numbers, and one thing I no it was NOT for Glasgow!it was FRENCH I don't understand how you come up with this also for the record it was my responsibility not to contact family or friends as if for example someone comes to the guard/gate and said they were looking for a guy called "Fred" (your old civilian name) and you had had it changed via the legion to "Fox" they can say they have no person with that name. But if the person said they were looking for Fred and he is now called Fox you loose the protection. Hope that makes sense.
have you had your name changed via the legion dusaboss? Did not think so!
Hi Papillon. Dusaboss still has his name in blue on the forum, so he hasn't gone yet. Nowadays you have to change your name so there's no problems there.
 

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Hi Papillon. Dusaboss still has his name in blue on the forum, so he hasn't gone yet. Nowadays you have to change your name so there's no problems there.
hi Joseph, thanks for reply. Does that mean regardless if you are on the run or not you have to have name change regardless of reasons as back in my day it was a choice depending on the reasons you were enlisting! But thanks.
Just think things have moved on and changed so much when I was getting into all the shit due to my behaviour and drinking in the Legion I was advised back in the early 80s that the Legion had changed and the days of soldiers like me were done and the Legion in a whole was being more intrecated into the main street French army as a whole, it is evident from bits I pick up on here it has changed, I like the professional direction it has moved being involved in global matters that have allowed it to show it is not a band of loose cannons but part of the French Army that can hold its own and keep the traditions of the Legion that binds men from all over the world to become an elite fighting unit in the different regiments that make me proud of to have been in. But in hind site annoyed and embarrassed I ****ed up due to my behaviour, addiction and my mental health. But over the years I don't beet myself up or feel ashamed as I saw it as failure (not now so having the Kepi, joining the REP getting my wings and other things to pin on my chest was quite remarkable as so many others don't get past first base and even if they do for one or another reason they do one or fail!
Some ex legionaires would view me as a discredit to the Legion, I understand that, but the guys that new me no a different side to it I did jail in Castel, Aubange Corsica Djibouti on mutable occasions unfortunatly it came to a bit of a "we will break you" (no you won't) hence the medical discharge but I put up quite a fight for a few years, also underneath all this madness was a very good soldier, I new I was they were just going about it the wrong way to get me to fill my full potential, I never helped the situation but also new when I did decided to work and stop messing about I could quite easily hold my own with my peers. I could keep you amused, never forget my boss of 4cie in jailing me for 28 days in Djibouti saying their was no French media over here and he would break me. Was flown back to Paris medical evecuation after about 36 days, and still want back to the REP once I was fit again!
As humains we can be our bigest enemy I was mine.
 

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hi Joseph, thanks for reply. Does that mean regardless if you are on the run or not you have to have name change regardless of reasons as back in my day it was a choice depending on the reasons you were enlisting! But thanks.
Just think things have moved on and changed so much when I was getting into all the shit due to my behaviour and drinking in the Legion I was advised back in the early 80s that the Legion had changed and the days of soldiers like me were done and the Legion in a whole was being more intrecated into the main street French army as a whole, it is evident from bits I pick up on here it has changed, I like the professional direction it has moved being involved in global matters that have allowed it to show it is not a band of loose cannons but part of the French Army that can hold its own and keep the traditions of the Legion that binds men from all over the world to become an elite fighting unit in the different regiments that make me proud of to have been in. But in hind site annoyed and embarrassed I ****ed up due to my behaviour, addiction and my mental health. But over the years I don't beet myself up or feel ashamed as I saw it as failure (not now so having the Kepi, joining the REP getting my wings and other things to pin on my chest was quite remarkable as so many others don't get past first base and even if they do for one or another reason they do one or fail!
Some ex legionaires would view me as a discredit to the Legion, I understand that, but the guys that new me no a different side to it I did jail in Castel, Aubange Corsica Djibouti on mutable occasions unfortunatly it came to a bit of a "we will break you" (no you won't) hence the medical discharge but I put up quite a fight for a few years, also underneath all this madness was a very good soldier, I new I was they were just going about it the wrong way to get me to fill my full potential, I never helped the situation but also new when I did decided to work and stop messing about I could quite easily hold my own with my peers. I could keep you amused, never forget my boss of 4cie in jailing me for 28 days in Djibouti saying their was no French media over here and he would break me. Was flown back to Paris medical evecuation after about 36 days, and still want back to the REP once I was fit again!
As humains we can be our bigest enemy I was mine.
Well from all accounts as soon as you join, Paris, Aubagne and so on they change your name. Perhaps (a personal opinion) so that there is no record of your stay. After a certain time you get get your name back and such just as in the old days.
 

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