South Africa to France: Visa & Stay Details

#1
Good afternoon everyone. I'm in the early / mid stages of preparing to join The Legion, I'm aim at booking my flight very early in 2018. For this, I have a few questions and hope there are some South Africans in the Legion that could help a wannabe out here.

First Q: In one of the threads on the Legion forum, there's a discussion about the French Embassy in South Africa that 'facilitate' people who want to apply to the Legion (not facilitate with the application specifically to the Legion but more with the VISA you need to go to France with), have anyone had success with this or is it considered illegal as most people say on the forum? (I've phoned them and they are very confident that this is legal and you can just fill in your details and the process kicks off (but it looks
very dodgy with that .Blogspot URL and Google Form randomly on a third party website) Here's the URL https://za.ambafrance.org/How-to-enlist-in-the-French-Foreign-legion (the backup plan is to just go as a 'tourist' for a visit, as suggested in other threads.)

Second Q: When you travel out of South Africa (especially a place like France), they want to know EVERYTHING. Where you are going to stay when you get to France, and what you'll be doing in France, they want to see a return flight etc... Now for 6 weeks in France (selection period), one can't just book accommodation for that long just to get to the Legion (and to get your visa etc) (money wise this will set you back HEAVILY, but you need these plans to get to the Legion). How did South Africans that have left for France to join the Legion deal with this in the past? Do you book a short 1 week stay and change your flights when you get there? (Reason why I'm asking is because one is not allowed to take a lot of money with when you join (think the Legion website says max like 50 euros or something, so if you don't have a return flight and don't make selection (praying and preparing hard that this wont happen) then you are pretty much screwed to get back to South Africa with 50 Euros in your pocket (A flight to South Africa form France is about 900 Euros.), unless you've prepared for it with a return flight.

Third Q: I've also seen in the threads that one should not say at any point before getting to the gates of the Legion, that you are going to France to join The Legion, from a South African perspective, logically, this makes sense, because our government doesn't like it at ALL. But when you are questioned in France about your whereabout and what you plan on doing in France, why would you not be honest about this and in your Visa interview with CAPAGO as well, when they ask you what you doing in France?

Conclusion (questions): How have South Africans in the past manage to get to the Legion (at minimal cost) (and how long do you plan your stay)? Do you go as a tourist to France? or through the Legion application on the French embassy website in South Africa?

If any of you have experience or insight on the above matter that would be highly appreciated. If there are any South Africans that've joined the Legion and have some other tips or advice, that would also be appreciated.

Apologies for the long thread.
 

voltigeur

Legionnaire
Former Moderator
#2
Good afternoon everyone. I'm in the early / mid stages of preparing to join The Legion, I'm aim at booking my flight very early in 2018. For this, I have a few questions and hope there are some South Africans in the Legion that could help a wannabe out here.

First Q: In one of the threads on the Legion forum, there's a discussion about the French Embassy in South Africa that 'facilitate' people who want to apply to the Legion (not facilitate with the application specifically to the Legion but more with the VISA you need to go to France with), have anyone had success with this or is it considered illegal as most people say on the forum? (I've phoned them and they are very confident that this is legal and you can just fill in your details and the process kicks off (but it looks
very dodgy with that .Blogspot URL and Google Form randomly on a third party website) Here's the URL https://za.ambafrance.org/How-to-enlist-in-the-French-Foreign-legion (the backup plan is to just go as a 'tourist' for a visit, as suggested in other threads.)

Second Q: When you travel out of South Africa (especially a place like France), they want to know EVERYTHING. Where you are going to stay when you get to France, and what you'll be doing in France, they want to see a return flight etc... Now for 6 weeks in France (selection period), one can't just book accommodation for that long just to get to the Legion (and to get your visa etc) (money wise this will set you back HEAVILY, but you need these plans to get to the Legion). How did South Africans that have left for France to join the Legion deal with this in the past? Do you book a short 1 week stay and change your flights when you get there? (Reason why I'm asking is because one is not allowed to take a lot of money with when you join (think the Legion website says max like 50 euros or something, so if you don't have a return flight and don't make selection (praying and preparing hard that this wont happen) then you are pretty much screwed to get back to South Africa with 50 Euros in your pocket (A flight to South Africa form France is about 900 Euros.), unless you've prepared for it with a return flight.

Third Q: I've also seen in the threads that one should not say at any point before getting to the gates of the Legion, that you are going to France to join The Legion, from a South African perspective, logically, this makes sense, because our government doesn't like it at ALL. But when you are questioned in France about your whereabout and what you plan on doing in France, why would you not be honest about this and in your Visa interview with CAPAGO as well, when they ask you what you doing in France?

Conclusion (questions): How have South Africans in the past manage to get to the Legion (at minimal cost) (and how long do you plan your stay)? Do you go as a tourist to France? or through the Legion application on the French embassy website in South Africa?

If any of you have experience or insight on the above matter that would be highly appreciated. If there are any South Africans that've joined the Legion and have some other tips or advice, that would also be appreciated.

Apologies for the long thread.
I believe all these questions were recently asked and replied to. Please check with the search function first.
 
#4
It's not rocket science.

Book a few nights at a hotel in Paris so you have an address. As far as I know they won't even check and if they do and ask why you only have a few nights, then make up a story about how you are backpacking through the country and haven't reserved all the hotels because you don't know the exact dates etc. If you need the return flight then get a return flight... and take your bank card with you so you can get more money out if you need to.

Seriously, you're going to enter a country visited by over 80 MILLION people each year. It's not like you're planning to escape from Alcatraz. Get the visa, book the flights, tell them what they want to hear and then go and knock on the gate.
 

SnafuSmite

Active Member
#5
Mate keep it simple, book with a youth hostel for 10 days, rock up spend a day or 2... Check out Paris and get over your jet lag, then cancel your booking, most places will only give you a partial refund but it's the thing you gotta do. You can get really great deals for about €27 a night. Book your flight and have return in 4 weeks the changeable option. You'll know whether or not you've made it within those 4 weeks advantage is a lot of youth hostels only accept cash so when they looking at your reservation when you applying for your visa tell them it's cash on arrival. If you make it into the Legion bobs your uncle, if you don't cruise around France for a month.

BantjesMachine went over middle of last year. Check that thread out https://cervens.net/legionbbs123/showthread.php?17392-Progression-update. In short plan a holiday but only book with places that are cash on arrival.
 
O

Ossie O

Unregistered
#6
Good afternoon everyone. I'm in the early / mid stages of preparing to join The Legion, I'm aim at booking my flight very early in 2018. For this, I have a few questions and hope there are some South Africans in the Legion that could help a wannabe out here.

First Q: In one of the threads on the Legion forum, there's a discussion about the French Embassy in South Africa that 'facilitate' people who want to apply to the Legion (not facilitate with the application specifically to the Legion but more with the VISA you need to go to France with), have anyone had success with this or is it considered illegal as most people say on the forum? (I've phoned them and they are very confident that this is legal and you can just fill in your details and the process kicks off (but it looks
very dodgy with that .Blogspot URL and Google Form randomly on a third party website) Here's the URL https://za.ambafrance.org/How-to-enlist-in-the-French-Foreign-legion (the backup plan is to just go as a 'tourist' for a visit, as suggested in other threads.)

Second Q: When you travel out of South Africa (especially a place like France), they want to know EVERYTHING. Where you are going to stay when you get to France, and what you'll be doing in France, they want to see a return flight etc... Now for 6 weeks in France (selection period), one can't just book accommodation for that long just to get to the Legion (and to get your visa etc) (money wise this will set you back HEAVILY, but you need these plans to get to the Legion). How did South Africans that have left for France to join the Legion deal with this in the past? Do you book a short 1 week stay and change your flights when you get there? (Reason why I'm asking is because one is not allowed to take a lot of money with when you join (think the Legion website says max like 50 euros or something, so if you don't have a return flight and don't make selection (praying and preparing hard that this wont happen) then you are pretty much screwed to get back to South Africa with 50 Euros in your pocket (A flight to South Africa form France is about 900 Euros.), unless you've prepared for it with a return flight.

Third Q: I've also seen in the threads that one should not say at any point before getting to the gates of the Legion, that you are going to France to join The Legion, from a South African perspective, logically, this makes sense, because our government doesn't like it at ALL. But when you are questioned in France about your whereabout and what you plan on doing in France, why would you not be honest about this and in your Visa interview with CAPAGO as well, when they ask you what you doing in France?

Conclusion (questions): How have South Africans in the past manage to get to the Legion (at minimal cost) (and how long do you plan your stay)? Do you go as a tourist to France? or through the Legion application on the French embassy website in South Africa?

If any of you have experience or insight on the above matter that would be highly appreciated. If there are any South Africans that've joined the Legion and have some other tips or advice, that would also be appreciated.

Apologies for the long thread.
mmm...I got a headache reading that. With all that's happening in Europe, do you honestly think the French authorities care about a South African backpacker coming to France to taste french wines, and meet some french ladies (hint, hint). And yes, it's not rocket science! The Legion is not for everyone. The only way to find out if you can 'cut the mustard' is get your mug to Paris.
 

Joseph Cosgrove

Moderator
Legionnaire
#7
It's not rocket science.

Book a few nights at a hotel in Paris so you have an address. As far as I know they won't even check and if they do and ask why you only have a few nights, then make up a story about how you are backpacking through the country and haven't reserved all the hotels because you don't know the exact dates etc. If you need the return flight then get a return flight... and take your bank card with you so you can get more money out if you need to.

Seriously, you're going to enter a country visited by over 80 MILLION people each year. It's not like you're planning to escape from Alcatraz. Get the visa, book the flights, tell them what they want to hear and then go and knock on the gate.
sound advice from mammikoura, perhaps change hotel to youth hostel as suggested by SnafuSmite. Google an intinary with the adress of various youth hostels. I presume that this is the kind of information the SA government need. In France you just have to say that you are travelling around. The 50 euros is the money that you will be allowed to keep on you during your stay in Aubagne, the rest, including your credit card will be kept for you. Book a ticket which allows you to modify your the return date. When doing so you will pay, in the French travel agency, around 150 euros. That way if you only last a week you don't have to hang around France for a further three weeks.

As for the French embassy facilitating your entry into the legion, I doubt it very much. You have to remember that the Embassy represents France and there is no way they are going to breach diplomatic relations with South Africa by helping their citizens join another army. On the countrary they may even have an accord where they tip off the SA government about any of their citizens trying to join the legion.

Hopefully some SA in green or their family can help but most of it has been covered before. Good hunting.
 
#8
What my Johnny done and feedback from him
He applied for a Schengen "holiday" visa
Booked a 2 month return ticket (if you don’t make it, have a 2 month holiday)
Booked into a hotel in Paris with a "FREE cancellation"(Take the printed booking)
Got off the plane at Charles de Gaulle and went straight to the BIG DOOR and knocked on it. (4 months later we got the "I got my Kepi" 30 sec phone call)
He did not close his home bank account
If you are not 110% fit, don’t go
If you are not a perfectly formed male with no "operation" scars, don’t go
If you are not mentally strong (a mommy's boy), don’t go
If you are a fussy eater, don’t go
If you have issues with a 3ft Corporal kicking and punching you, don’t go
If you have issues living with and taking orders from idiots, don’t go
If you are going to be disappointed when you find out that Legion is nothing what you thought it would be, don’t go

If you are a soutie, best you learn basic French and improve your Afrikaans. Plenty there.
If all good, focus and GO. They love Saffers
 

SnafuSmite

Active Member
#9
What my Johnny done and feedback from him
He applied for a Schengen "holiday" visa
Booked a 2 month return ticket (if you don’t make it, have a 2 month holiday)
Booked into a hotel in Paris with a "FREE cancellation"(Take the printed booking)
Got off the plane at Charles de Gaulle and went straight to the BIG DOOR and knocked on it. (4 months later we got the "I got my Kepi" 30 sec phone call)
He did not close his home bank account
If you are not 110% fit, don’t go
If you are not a perfectly formed male with no "operation" scars, don’t go
If you are not mentally strong (a mommy's boy), don’t go
If you are a fussy eater, don’t go
If you have issues with a 3ft Corporal kicking and punching you, don’t go
If you have issues living with and taking orders from idiots, don’t go
If you are going to be disappointed when you find out that Legion is nothing what you thought it would be, don’t go

If you are a soutie, best you learn basic French and improve your Afrikaans. Plenty there.
If all good, focus and GO. They love Saffers
Beautiful, short, sweet and to the point. Baie dankie vir die inligting pops (en Johny).
 

loustic

Banned
Banned
#11
mmm...I got a headache reading that. With all that's happening in Europe, do you honestly think the French authorities care about a South African backpacker coming to France to taste french wines, and meet some french ladies (hint, hint). And yes, it's not rocket science! The Legion is not for everyone. The only way to find out if you can 'cut the mustard' is get your mug to Paris.
I had the impression this wannabe felt the SA authorities would inquire more than the French
 
#12
Irate Ossie sorts out USMC I believe ! As some may know, after my ss/r commission was up I considered the FFL. This was out of a sense of adventure and with no living 'blood' relatives. However the FE called me and I was accepted for the Colonial Police. Despite not meeting the minimum height requirement of 5'8" due to prior military experience it was waived. Interesting times, riots, murders, general mayhem and over 9000 reported IEDs'. 7 men killed one morning by a MG from across the border. My L/Rover grenaded with shrapnel nearly getting me in the arse but fortunately missing more vital areas !

At the end of my initial contract which came from the British Crown Agents London and with leave due I considered working for the clandestine Air America. Discreet interviews were held out area. A job was offered but a wonderful marriage to my current wife precluded me from taking the matter further.

I often wonder what if ?
 

dusaboss

Hyper Active Member
#13
At the end of my initial contract which came from the British Crown Agents London and with leave due I considered working for the clandestine Air America. Discreet interviews were held out area. A job was offered but a wonderful marriage to my current wife precluded me from taking the matter further.

I often wonder what if ?
Chas what what would be your job be for Air America ? I thought that was for airmen only.
 
#14
Chas what what would be your job be for Air America ? I thought that was for airmen only.
Despatcher/Gunner. Lots of money to be made by despatching parachute loads of nefarious items. Contents of course deniable. ( Hard Rice for tribesmen.) Gunner of last resort. You can google.
 
#16
Sounds like the plot of a Tom Clancy book.
Just as interesting as one of his books. Secret war in Laos. History not a book and hard rice was weapons for the tribes people.
I believe it to be a myth that there was also heroin smuggling. But of course since I did not take the job, who am I to know.
My brief was for rice and hard rice with the possibility of someone taking a quick pot shot at us. Remuneration would have set me up for life !
 
#18
Just as interesting as one of his books. Secret war in Laos. History not a book and hard rice was weapons for the tribes people.
I believe it to be a myth that there was also heroin smuggling. But of course since I did not take the job, who am I to know.
My brief was for rice and hard rice with the possibility of someone taking a quick pot shot at us. Remuneration would have set me up for life !
Non clandestines know nothing of the shenanigans that go on, and we will never know.
 
#20
Dusaboss,

I don't believe that you will ever join. You might approach the gates and then leave, subsequently claiming that you tried.

And my lady and I have been together since 1969.

As far as I am concerned you are not only worthless until you prove yourself, but asinine with it.
 

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