French Foreign Legion: Basic salary, Allowance, Incentive, Bonus & Special Pay

The salary of a member of the French Foreign Legion (FFL) is determined by their rank and length of service. Like other military units, pay

Eric Sof

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What are the selection and training requirements for the French Foreign Legion?
What are the selection and training requirements for the French Foreign Legion? (Photo: XY)

The salary of a member of the French Foreign Legion (FFL) is determined by their rank and length of service. Like other military units, pay for FFL members may increase if they are deployed on operations abroad. It’s worth noting that many people join the FFL for reasons other than financial gain – the motivations of legionnaires are diverse and do not include the desire for the country, God, or gold. This distinguishes legionnaires from mercenaries. It’s important to note that FFL members are not mercenaries, as is sometimes believed. Instead, they are part of the French Army and are considered lawful combatants in any conflict in which they may participate.

Basic salary in the French Foreign Legion

The average pay for a new member of the French Foreign Legion is between 1300€ ($1575) and 7000€ ($8478), depending on rank and length of service. It’s worth noting that the pay for a member of the FFL is not as high as what some private military companies may offer, such as Blackwater.

French Foreign Legion: Basic salary, Allowance, Incentive, Bonus & Special Pay
Basic salary, Allowance, Incentive, Bonus & Special Pay in French Foreign Legion are similar to the regular French Army soldiers (Photo: French Foreign Legion)

A Legionnaire doesn’t make more money than an ordinary soldier in the traditional French Army. The rules are the same for the Legionnaires, nothing more and nothing less. Here is what it takes into account when determining average military pay in the French Army (the same applies to the French Foreign Legion):

The military situation

It covers everything which concerns the person in the Army, like:

  • Rank,
  • Years of service,
  • Years in a class,
  • Qualifications etc.

The family situation

It means if a person

  • is married,
  • having children,
  • living in town,
  • since when he joined his unit etc.

I wanted to stay simple, but at the same time, I want to let you estimate the best possible salary for a French soldier. For this, I took a single man living in the barrack for each rank.

Allowance, bonus, and special pay

Field Allowance

Field allowance is probably the most crucial factor the legionnaire’s salary depends on. For every absence from the regiment for 36 hours, you are eligible for compensation in the form of a payment to an expatriate for additional costs and difficulties and working in different locations.

Rank Single Married
Legionnaire 33,53€ ($40,60) 41,91€ ($50,75)
Caporal 33,53€ ($40,60) 41,91€ ($50,75)
Caporal-chef 40,90€ ($49,50) 51,13€ ($61,93)
Sergent 40,90€ ($49,50) 51,13€ ($61,93)
Sergent-chef 40,90€ ($49,50) 51,13€ ($61,93)
Adjudant 49,46€ ($59,90) 61,84€ ($74,90)
Adjudant-chef 49,46€ ($59,90) 61,84€ ($74,90)
Major 49,46€ ($59,90) 61,84€ ($74,90)

NOTE: The paratroopers don’t earn the field service prime!

Legionnaires are eligible for compensation in form of a payment to an expatriate for additional costs and difficulties and working in different locations
Legionnaires are eligible for compensation in the form of a payment to an expatriate for additional costs and difficulties and working in different locations (Photo: XY)

IAC (Indemnité d’Absence Cumulée) – Cumulative absence indemnity

This bonus has been effective since January 2016. Soldiers absent for professional reasons related to its operational activities for a period exceeding 150 days (accumulated over a year), giving rise to compensation or premium for:

  • Service
  • Field services
  • OPEX*
  • MCD (Mission Courte Durée – Guyana, Mayotte, Réunion, etc…)

* OPEX (OPération EXtérieure) is the term used to designate overseas missions, places generally considered conflict zones, etc. Otherwise, it’s also known as RTE (Renfort Temporaire Étranger), but no one ever seems to use that term.

 Cumulative absence: Amount per night of absence
Beyond 150 and up to 175 days 10€ ($12,10)
 Beyond 175 and up to 200 days 25€ ($30,28)
 Beyond 200 and up to 250 days 50€ ($60,56)
Beyond 250 and up to 365 days 85€ ($102,95)

EXAMPLE: If you did 203 days on OPEX, field missions, and service. It means that this year, you will have the following bonus as IAC.
IAC= (25×10)+(25×25)+(3×50)= 650€ ($787,25) you will get added to your pay.

High mountain premium

A high mountain premium bonus has been introduced since April 2019 for qualified soldiers of mountain troops, which concerns the 2°REG in the French Foreign Legion. (This premium cannot be combined with the paratrooper’s bonus).

High mountain team leader Leader of high mountain detachment Military mountain guide instructor
+115€ ($139,28) / month +230€ ($278,50) / month +350€ ($423,90) / month

Pay in French Foreign Legion

Basic salary of a legionnaire living in the barracks

Rank Minimum Salary Maximum Salary
Legionnaire 1348€ ($1632)
Caporal 1355€ ($1641) 1370€ ($1659)
Caporal-chef 1366€ ($1654) 1770€ ($2143)
Sergent 1442€ ($1746) 1827€ ($2212)
Sergent-chef 1484€ ($1797) 1944€ ($2345)
Adjudant 1846€ ($2235) 2046€ ($2478)
Adjudant-chef 1997€ ($2418) 2175€ ($2634)
Major 2111€ ($2556) 2345€ ($2840)

Basic salary of a legionnaire during a deployment

Rank Minimum Salary Maximum Salary
Legionnaire 3423€ ($4145)
Caporal 3464€ ($4195)
Caporal-chef 3514€ ($4256) 3829€ ($4637)
Sergent 3598€ ($4357,75) 3800€ ($4602)
Sergent-chef 3760€ ($4554) 4946€ ($5990)
Adjudant 3922€ ($4750) 5189€ ($6284)
Adjudant-chef 4838€ ($5859) 5534€ ($6702)
Major 5037€ ($6100) 5990€ ($7254)

Basic salary of a legionnaire parachutist

Rank Minimum Salary Maximum Salary
Legionnaire 2067€ ($2503)
Caporal 2074€ ($2512) 2089€ ($2530)
Caporal-chef 2078€ ($2517) 2485€ ($3010)
Sergent 2084€ ($2524) 2178€ ($2638)
Sergent-chef 2144€ ($2597) 2599€ ($3147)
Adjudant 2200€ ($2664) 2714€ ($3287)
Adjudant-chef 2586€ ($3132) 2843€ ($3443)
Major 2660€ ($3232) 3011€ ($3647)

Basic salary of a parachutist during a deployment

Rank Minimum Salary Maximum Salary
Legionnaire 4149€ ($5025)
Caporal 4170€ ($5050) 4241€ ($5136)
Caporal-chef 4180€ ($5063) 4285€ ($5190)
Sergent 4212€ ($5101) 4465€ ($5408)
Sergent-chef 4374€ ($5297) 5611€ ($6796)
Adjudant 4468€ ($5411) 5864€ ($7102)
Adjudant-chef 5514€ ($6678) 6214€ ($7526)
Major 5717€ ($6924) 6670€ ($8078)

Conclusion

As a member of a combat regiment in the French Foreign Legion, you can expect to spend at least four months per year on field service, two months on the Vigipirate counter-terrorism mission in France, four months in training or with the regiment, and two months on holiday. During the time that you are deployed on missions or assignments outside of the regiment, you will receive additional pay. This can help to increase your overall earnings and provide additional financial security.

french foreign legion enlistment - RECRUITMENT
French Legionnaires marching on French Foreign Legion day (Photo: Pinterest)

As a member of the French Foreign Legion, you can save at least 30% of your pay and still maintain a comfortable lifestyle. While you may not become wealthy, you will have enough to cover expenses such as travel, dining out, and purchasing consumer goods. Additionally, as a legionnaire, you will not have to pay for housing or meals during the week, as the regiment provides these. This can help to stretch your income further and allow for more financial flexibility.

SOURCES:

Eric Sof

Eric Sof holds a master's degree in Political Science, specializing in International Peacekeeping Studies. He has over a decade of experience as a former member of an elite counterterrorism unit. Additionally, he is a firearms instructor and currently serves as a member of the SWAT unit.

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10 thoughts on “French Foreign Legion: Basic salary, Allowance, Incentive, Bonus & Special Pay”

  1. If I want to join the French Foreign Legion should I just show up at the door? I tried to email, but nobody answered.

  2. AARON LACY JR – (Google) “…Go to mainland France (in EUROPE) and knock on the door of one of the Foreign Legion recruiting centers…”

  3. From Nigeria want to join but don’t know if they are still recruiting and if I need green card or what and can I apply anytime I get to France

  4. I want to join but i don’t no how to apply. I’m from Fiji islands in the Pacific.

  5. The Foreign Legion is a good venue to explore the world and acquire useful skills provide you are fit…adventurous..fearless…daring…and mentally hard…and last but not least…YOUNG…not necessarily in this sequence…If I had a second life…I would join before I am 30 years old. Viva Le Legion.

  6. Some of these comments read like they’re written by schoolboys with dreams of glory.

    If you can’t figure out how to join, you don’t belong in the FFL. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

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