Having been founded in 1831 by King Louis Philippe of France, the French Foreign Legion is one of the most unique military units in the world. It is a volunteer force that is open to foreigners from any country.
The Foreign Legion has been involved in some of the most famous military campaigns in history. They have participated in the Crimean War, the Franco-Prussian War, World War I, World War II, the Indochina War, and the Algerian War. The Foreign Legion has also been deployed to peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.
For many, joining the ranks of the Foreign Legion is a way to start over. It offers them a chance to leave their past behind and forge a new identity in the service of France. The Legion is known for its tough training and rigorous discipline.
In this day and age, a large percentage of adult men have at least one tattoo. While various professions and duties still discriminate against inked people, most military units around the world have relaxed their policies to allow recruits with tattoos.
Is that the case with the French Foreign Legion?
If you’ve been considering joining their ranks, stick with us for a couple of minutes. In this article, we will discuss the current tattoo policy in the French Foreign Legion – just to make sure you’re good to go.
French Foreign Legion Tattoo Policy & Regulations
If you’ve been really worried about being declined a place in the Legion because of your tattoo, rest easy – the FFL has a very relaxed policy when it comes to body ink.
In fact, they are one of the most tattoo-friendly military units in the world. And it would be really weird if they didn’t since the art of tattooing is deeply rooted in the history of the Foreign Legion.
Believe it or not, a century ago the legionnaires were one of very few groups in the world (and more so in France) that had any ink on their bodies. The other include sailors and prisoners. While saying that people with tattoos are greeted with a red carpet in the FFL these days would be an exaggeration, it’s safe to say that they are more than welcome.
With that said, there are, of course, some exceptions to the rule. By joining the ranks of the FFL you will be representing France all around the world.
That’s why, if your tattoo is of a racist, political, or sexually explicit nature – you will be automatically rejected.
The same goes for any ink that could be associated with criminal activity or gang membership. The Legion also reserves the right to decline an applicant whose tattoo is simply stupid and not worthy of a French soldier (eg. genitals tattoo on the neck or any other visible place).
Other than that, you’re pretty much good to go.
There are no specific regulations regarding the size or number of tattoos.
While it’s true that some commanding officers might have a problem with visible ink, it’s very unlikely that you will be rejected because of that.
The FFL is a forward-thinking institution and its tattoo policy reflects that.
The above information is based on information found on FFL’s official website, as well as testimonials from those who have served and are currently serving in the Legion.