The French Foreign Legion is a military service branch of the French Army established in 1831, unique because it was created for foreign nationals willing to serve in the French Armed Forces.
Commanded by French officers, it is also open to French citizens, who amounted to 24% of the recruits in 2007. The Foreign Legion is today known as a unit whose training focuses not only on traditional military skills but also on its strong esprit de corps as its men come from different countries with different cultures. This is a way to strengthen them enough to work as a team.
Although it is part of the French Military, it is the only unit of the military that does not swear allegiance to France, but to the Foreign Legion itself. Consequently, training is often described as not only physically challenging, but also very stressful psychologically.
French citizenship may be applied for after three years’ service. Additionally, any soldier who becomes injured during a battle for France immediately becomes a French citizen under a provision known as “Français par le sang versé” (“French by spilled blood”). As of 2008, members come from 140 countries.