a French Foreign Legion Forum

Welcome! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

French Citizenship Anecdotes?

Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
Location
United States
Best answers
0
Home Country
United States
So I found a semi-old thread on gaining citizenship through the Legion, where Loustic mentioned that while the official minimum time is 3 years it's really more like 7.

https://www.cervens.net/legionbbs123/showthread.php?15992-French-Citizenship&highlight=citizenship

My question is if anyone knows of Legionnaires who have gotten French citizenship after just one contract - circumstances, bad/good record, combat wound, etc.

While I'm fully aware that my focus needs to be on getting there first and that this should not be a deal-breaker issue, getting French citizenship would be a point of interest for me and so I am curious how long one would likely need to be in the Legion to obtain that honor.

Thanks to all who answer!
 

Don Pedro

Legionnaire
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
2,560
Reaction score
12
Location
Tyne & Wear North-east of England
Best answers
0
Home Country
Sweden
Yes, you can apply for French citizenship before the end of the initial 5 years contract. A good conduct, will also make it a little bit 'easier' to obtain it.
 

a1b2c3

Actual or Former Legionnaire
Legionnaire
Joined
Jan 4, 2005
Messages
425
Reaction score
36
Location
Ici la bas
Best answers
0
Home Country
United Nations
Minimum = 3 years into contract (which I believe is because the application requires you to have paid 3 years of French income taxes), already RSM'd (which you can apply for after 1 year in contract), good level of French. Once you've submitted your paperwork the process is supposed to take approximately 18 months (1½ year... which would put you at 4½ years of service). And a caporal (although this isn't official)... or at least scheduled for the stage... Basically this means you've been a ‘good’ legionnaire by the standards of your chain of command.

It's been done. Especially if you have mates in the bureau major who can push the paperwork along for you (chasing after signatures, making sure it arrives where/when it needs to be, has all the t's crossed and i's dotted, making sure it doesn't just disappear, etc.), which was the case for the one dude I know. While others that applied at the same time kept waiting... and waiting... and waiting. I think I know one who had to resubmit his paperwork three (3!) times before it finally went through.

Only other dude I know that got it before end of 5 years was because he got shot in Afghanistan.

That was the case at my regiment a couple of years ago, probably not much different now. Most of us figured it would be easier to apply for it in civil street, which while legal (by French law) is frowned upon by the Legion... But they really can't do anything about it?
 

loustic

Banned
Banned
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Messages
1,874
Reaction score
6
Location
Brussels
Best answers
0
Home Country
Canada
(...) Only other dude I know that got it before end of 5 years was because he got shot in Afghanistan. (...)
This is the result of a relatively new French law : “French by blood spilledâ€￾, (“Français par le sang verséâ€￾) : if you get wounded while in service, you have the right to claim French nationality if you want to have it.

By the way, your remark gives me a new idea !

(...) That was the case at my regiment a couple of years ago, probably not much different now. Most of us figured it would be easier to apply for it in civil street, which while legal (by French law) is frowned upon by the Legion... But they really can't do anything about it?
Could you expand on that ?
 

Don Pedro

Legionnaire
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
2,560
Reaction score
12
Location
Tyne & Wear North-east of England
Best answers
0
Home Country
Sweden
Minimum = 3 years into contract (which I believe is because the application requires you to have paid 3 years of French income taxes) (...)
That is for, 'if', you are aiming for retirement and a pension too. And anway, somewhere along the line, the tax people will, NOT, forget you and for you to pay arrears, if you haven't paid (that can be hurtful).
 

a1b2c3

Actual or Former Legionnaire
Legionnaire
Joined
Jan 4, 2005
Messages
425
Reaction score
36
Location
Ici la bas
Best answers
0
Home Country
United Nations
Well... Since one has to pay 3 years of income taxes to be eligible, once one get RSM'd they are re now a ‘normal’ person, so to speak, according to French civilian authorities. While the actual law is a bit unclear as to the status... but if that person has paid 3x years of income taxes, and are legally in France (both are true for a legionnaire) then technically that person can apply for citizenship. No law that says it has to be through the Legion.

I remember someone (or someones) trying it... Don't remember if they were ultimately successful at getting the passport before finishing their contract. But somehow the Legion found out, and he was hauled before the chef de corps, PM, etc. to ‘explain themselves’.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
Location
United States
Best answers
0
Home Country
United States
Okay, thanks for the all the clarification. Basically, what I got from this:

- Must have paid income tax for 3 years, after that can apply through the Legion
- Good conduct and bureaucratic connections expedite the process
- "French by spilled blood" is in fact an active policy
- If you don't get citizenship during your contract then you can go through the civil route

This has been really helpful. The only questions I have now are:

- How does paying income tax work in the Legion? Is it an automatic deduction from your paycheck like many jobs here in the US? Will it only count towards the 3 years of paying income tax after you have RSM?

- This is slightly off-topic but could apply if one wanted to stay in the Legion a while longer while getting citizenship: Is it true that there are 6 month, 1 year, 2 year, or 3 year contracts possible after the first 5 years? I've read some contradicting claims.

Thanks again!
 

Rapace

Moderator
Joined
Oct 17, 2004
Messages
5,931
Reaction score
1,309
Location
France
Best answers
0
Home Country
France
This is the result of a relatively new French law : “French by blood spilledâ€￾, (“Français par le sang verséâ€￾) : if you get wounded while in service, you have the right to claim French nationality if you want to have it. (...)
Well, this law is not really recent any more. It was passed in 1999... I know, time is flying :(. And it doesn't give any legionnaire WIA the right to apply for French citizenship, it guarantees that – if he applies – his request will be accepted.

Below a link to a documentary about the history of this law and how difficult it was for the MPs who supported to get it voted by the Parliament. It also shows, as examples, three legionnaires who benefited form this law. It all started when CCH Novakowsky, from Poland, lost his leg in Sarajevo in the early 90s. To the Minister of Defence who visited him in the hospital, he replied that he was not expecting any decoration but would just like to become French. Other examples are a Portuguese NCO wounded in Côte d'Ivoire and a Chinese legionnaire wounded in Afghanistan. Don't know if there's an English version.

[video=youtube;MXKfMlQBeL4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXKfMlQBeL4[/video]
 

voltigeur

Legionnaire
Joined
Oct 17, 2004
Messages
4,344
Reaction score
710
Location
Canada
Best answers
2
Home Country
Canada
Okay, thanks for the all the clarification. Basically, what I got from this:

- Must have paid income tax for 3 years, after that can apply through the Legion
- Good conduct and bureaucratic connections expedite the process
- "French by spilled blood" is in fact an active policy
- If you don't get citizenship during your contract then you can go through the civil route

This has been really helpful. The only questions I have now are:

- How does paying income tax work in the Legion? Is it an automatic deduction from your paycheck like many jobs here in the US? Will it only count towards the 3 years of paying income tax after you have RSM?

- This is slightly off-topic but could apply if one wanted to stay in the Legion a while longer while getting citizenship: Is it true that there are 6 month, 1 year, 2 year, or 3 year contracts possible after the first 5 years? I've read some contradicting claims.

Thanks again!
Yes you can sign on with those time frames in fact, you can not get a five year contract again. At least that is how it was in my time there.
 

Don Pedro

Legionnaire
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
2,560
Reaction score
12
Location
Tyne & Wear North-east of England
Best answers
0
Home Country
Sweden
(...)

- How does paying income tax work in the Legion? Is it an automatic deduction from your paycheck like many jobs here in the US? Will it only count towards the 3 years of paying income tax after you have RSM?

- This is slightly off-topic but could apply if one wanted to stay in the Legion a while longer while getting citizenship: Is it true that there are 6 month, 1 year, 2 year, or 3 year contracts possible after the first 5 years? (...)

Thanks again!

For the taxes, there's 2 ways, fill in the paper version, or, do it online, there's no "automatic deduction", you have to declare it yourself, this once a year with the help of a little letter that resume your wages (smart thing is to double check, with the monthly, payslip from 'C.T.A.C'). Correct, from 6 months and anything in between up until 3 years, after the initial 5 years contract.
 

Fin109

Active Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2015
Messages
104
Reaction score
1
Location
North Carolina
Best answers
0
Home Country
United States
Good info - seems to not be too much up-to-date info on this.
 

Le petit caporal

Legionnaire
Joined
Sep 4, 2017
Messages
4,260
Reaction score
2,928
Location
Nimes
Best answers
2
Home Country
North Korea
Naturalisation, or just even a resident's card, are at the Perfects bon vouloir
At the actu, I do not have a resident's card, nor a British passport
Britexit is in a couple of weeks and I consider myself a Clando, Refugee or maybe, aye, most definitely a dissident
They, la France can deport me when they feel like it
Dinnae give a toss
(Nearly 40 years on the territory)
I ken whaur am frum and whaur I've been, that will do me
 

dusaboss

Hyper Active Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
4,260
Reaction score
1,447
Location
Serbia
Best answers
0
Home Country
Yugoslavia
Naturalisation, or just even a resident's card, are at the Perfects bon vouloir
At the actu, I do not have a resident's card, nor a British passport
Britexit is in a couple of weeks and I consider myself a Clando, Refugee or maybe, aye, most definitely a dissident
They, la France can deport me when they feel like it
Dinnae give a toss
(Nearly 40 years on the territory)
I ken whaur am frum and whaur I've been, that will do me
You can come to Serbia. :)
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
4
Location
Chicago, IL
Best answers
0
Home Country
United States
Hello friends of the French Foreign Legion. Does the legion also give social security numbers and birth certificate for legionnaires who dont want any connections to your old life and identity? Complete discretion. Thank you and happy new year
 

dusaboss

Hyper Active Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
4,260
Reaction score
1,447
Location
Serbia
Best answers
0
Home Country
Yugoslavia
Hello friends of the French Foreign Legion. Does the legion also give social security numbers and birth certificate for legionnaires who dont want any connections to your old life and identity? Complete discretion. Thank you and happy new year
If you thinking about new day of birth which will be in your new documents. Than yes, they will change your birthday also. If you decide to keep new identity and go trough legalisation process after 5 + years of being good little legionnaire.
Actually your question is really good. Don't know for France, but in my country you need birth certificate for everything. And what's point of new identity if you can't do legally nothing with it. Than is like fake ID. I guess they have way of doing thing and that in France you can do everything as regular citizen.
As for your home country, that's interesting. Your new identity would be of man with similar age and country of origin. If you go back and try to do something legally with that new identity and they ask for your birth certificate, don't know how that would work. Only your country can give you birth certificate and you are not in books under that new name... So yeah, really interesting and I would also like to know how those things work.

For 5 y on this forum (OMG I could served full contract by now :() I never met someone who did change name. Which is reasonable because those who did changed name probably won't babbling about on public forum.

Maybe someone could shine some light on this?
 
Last edited:

Joseph Cosgrove

Moderator
Legionnaire
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
6,447
Reaction score
4,893
Location
Hua Hin Thailand
Best answers
2
Home Country
New Zealand
The social security number is normal. However only the country that you are born in or have your birth registered in can issue a birth certificate (example diplomates, UN workers), As for your new legion ID it will last for as long as you are serving in the legion. When you leave you MUST take back your old name (*with one exception). While serving in the legion under your false name there is only so much that you can use your ID card for. A couple of them are being able to book into a hotel. Take flights in country, such as Paris, Marseilles or to Corsica. No international flights. You can use it to justify your 75% reduction on a train journey, if you have the card,
You cannot hire a car or get a bank loan or open a new bank account with it.

You see from time to time, on the official legion photos of those that are leaving after spending their time out side of the museum, Cpl or Sgt X. Quite simply it is because he doesn't want his real name plastered for the world to see, It is that or his real name. NO ONE goes civilian with their legion name.

* the one exception is once you are rectified (use the search function) and you get your old name back, you can then go through the lengthy process of having your name franciser
Demand francisation be made on filing of your application for declaration of French nationality of naturalization or of reintegration. You must complete the cerfa form n ° 65-0054 for you and your children concerned. Oct 14, 2019

Which usually only applies to given or Christian names. Basically - two concrete examples that I know of - If you have a name such as Mohmed you can have it changed, under the conditions of the previously stated, to a French name of your choice, which was Marcel. I also know of one ex-legionnaire who had his changed from Plamen to Patrick.

I would encourage anyone who decides on the option Franciser to have it done while in the legion, because there is a sh$t load of paperwork involved in civvy street.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
4
Location
Chicago, IL
Best answers
0
Home Country
United States
The social security number is normal. However only the country that you are born in or have your birth registered in can issue a birth certificate (example diplomates, UN workers), As for your new legion ID it will last for as long as you are serving in the legion. When you leave you MUST take back your old name (*with one exception). While serving in the legion under your false name there is only so much that you can use your ID card for. A couple of them are being able to book into a hotel. Take flights in country, such as Paris, Marseilles or to Corsica. No international flights. You can use it to justify your 75% reduction on a train journey, if you have the card,
You cannot hire a car or get a bank loan or open a new bank account with it.

You see from time to time, on the official legion photos of those that are leaving after spending their time out side of the museum, Cpl or Sgt X. Quite simply it is because he doesn't want his real name plastered for the world to see, It is that or his real name. NO ONE goes civilian with their legion name.

* the one exception is once you are rectified (use the search function) and you get your old name back, you can then go through the lengthy process of having your name franciser
Demand francisation be made on filing of your application for declaration of French nationality of naturalization or of reintegration. You must complete the cerfa form n ° 65-0054 for you and your children concerned. Oct 14, 2019

Which usually only applies to given or Christian names. Basically - two concrete examples that I know of - If you have a name such as Mohmed you can have it changed, under the conditions of the previously stated, to a French name of your choice, which was Marcel. I also know of one ex-legionnaire who had his changed from Plamen to Patrick.

I would encourage anyone who decides on the option Franciser to have it done while in the legion, because there is a sh$t load of paperwork involved in civvy street.
Thank you for that information. Its a bit to ponder on
 
Top