Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

List of militaries that recruit foreigners

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This is a List of militaries that recruit foreign applicants. This includes any individuals who are aliens of the state whose armed forces they are being recruited to join by professional recruiters. The foreigners need not be legal residents of that nation, but may gain legal residence status by joining the armed forces.



  •  Australia
  • Australian Defence Force - The ADF routinely recruits New Zealand citizens who are Permanent Residents to serve in the military.
  • Permanent residents who can prove they have applied for citizenship. Or permanent residents who are ineligible to apply for Australian citizenship as long as they are prepared to apply for citizenship within 3 months of commencing service (or 6 months if in the ADF Reserve). If permanent residents refuse citizenship or fail in their application, their ADF service will be terminated.
  • Overseas applicants with relevant military experience from allied countries who have significant military experience can apply to join the Armed Forces. A willingness to apply for citizenship is a requirement. In exceptional circumstances, if a position cannot be filled by an Australian Citizen the citizenship requirement may be waived and applications may be accepted from: In certain areas of the defence, especially sensitive work that involves collaboration with ASIO or ASIS, citizenship is a requirement.
  • B

  •  Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh Armed Forces- Bangladesh Military includes foreigners in Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Navy Forces & Bangladesh Air Forces. Almost 50,000 foreigners are serving in the military of Bangladesh, with 86,000 come to take training.
  • Bangladesh Military includes Americans, Bhutanese, Burmese, Sri Lankans, Nepalese, Iranians, Russians, Palestinians and Chinese. Mainly Palestinians and Iranians came here to train down. Foreigners who gets the citizenship of Bangladesh by the government gets the chance to work here. Sometimes foreigners also come here to train Bangladeshi Forces, mainly Americans.

  •  Bahrain
  • The forces in Bahrain are made up of Sunni foreigners, mainly Arabs and Pakistanis serving within them. This has become a topic of debate; the majority Shia Bahrainis are not happy with foreigners in the positions of power while the native Bahrainis are barred from them.
  •  Belgium
  • Belgian Armed Forces - Any citizen of a country of the European Union within the age of 18 to 34 (33 for officers) is eligible to join the forces.
  •  Bolivia
  • Foreign nationals resident in Bolivia at conscription age are permitted to join the armed forces, which simplifies their naturalization process.
  • C

  •  Canada
  • Canadian Forces - Canadian permanent residents are allowed to serve in the Canadian Forces (CF) as long as the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) decides it would not prejudice the national interest. It is likely that a requirement of CF membership will be to aim to become a Canadian citizen within four years of enrollment (subject to Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) processing timeframes). Following changes to the Citizenship Act in 2015, there is also now a fast-track citizenship scheme available to current and past CF members, as well as certain prospective members (negating the requirement to become a permanent resident first in the latter case).
  •  Cyprus
  • Cypriot National Guard - Cyprus accepts all foreign nationals of at least partial Cypriot descent as volunteers.
  • D

  •  Denmark
  • Foreign nationals already living in Denmark or in another EU country may apply to join the Danish armed forces, providing they have lived one year in Denmark if applying within or six years if applying within an EU country. However, they must be fluent in Danish and must be able to write it as well
  • F

  •  France
  • French Foreign Legion - The legion is a branch of the French Army, which recruits applicants aged 18 to 40 from throughout the world.
  • I

  •  India
  • Indian Army - Recruits Nepalese and Bhutanese citizens, and the refugees from Tibet who intend to permanently settle in India. Recruits of Indian origin who have migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India may also join.
  •  Ireland
  • Irish Defence Forces - Nationals of the European Economic Area, which includes member states of the European Union along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, as well as foreign residents having lived in Ireland for 5 years continuously.
  •  Israel
  • Israel Defense Forces - Israel recruits non-Israeli Jews—and non-Jews with at least one Jewish grandparent—through the Mahal and Garin Tzabar programs.
  • L

  •  Luxembourg
  • Luxembourg Army - Any citizen of a country of the European Union who has resided in Luxembourg for at least 36 months and is at least 18 years old but not yet 24 is eligible to join the army.
  • M

  •  Monaco
  • Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince and the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers - Recruits Frenchmen, as well as native Monegasques.
  • N

  •  New Zealand
  • Overseas: A serving member of another military can join the New Zealand Defence Force. The Requirements are to be a current or recently serving (within 6–12 months) member of the UK, Australian, USA or Canadian Armed Forces, have been a citizen of either the UK, Australia, USA, or Canada for a minimum period of 10 years, or have been living in NZ for a minimum period of 5 years, be eligible for release from current service within 18 months of applying, and meet current vacancy criteria at the time of application.
  •  Norway
  • Norwegian Armed Forces - By agreement between the two countries citizens of Iceland are accepted.
  • R

  •  Russia
  • The Russian Armed Forces are accepting foreigners of any country to their ranks. Under a plan, posted on the ministry’s web site in 2010, foreigners without dual citizenship would be able to sign up for five-year contracts – and will be eligible for Russian citizenship after serving three years. According to the amended law, a citizen of any foreign country aged 18–30 with a good command of Russian and a clean record can now sign an initial five-year contract to join the Army. Citizens of the former Soviet Union can also join.
  • S

  •  Serbia
  • Serbian Armed Forces - Serbian Armed Forces recruits citizens of European Union member states and former Soviet republics. Individuals must be 18–30 years old and with a good command of Serbian Language.
  •  Spain
  • Spanish Armed Forces - Spain recruits citizens of ex-Spanish colonies (except Puerto Rico and the Philippines). Citizens of Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay or Venezuela may enlist in the Spanish Legion (except as submarine personnel) with temporary/permanent residence or acquired Spanish citizenship.
  •  Singapore
  • Singapore has always made use of Gurkhas to help with special military and police roles. During the colonial days, many soldiers were brought to Singapore from other British colonies. Second-generation male permanent residents are bound by Singapore's conscription laws to the same extent Singaporean citizens are, and therefore must do the standard active and reserve service in the military, police, or civil defense force.
  • U

  •  Ukraine
  • It has been reported that EU and Belarusian citizens are serving in the Ukrainian Ground Forces since the outbreak of the Donbass War.
  •  United Kingdom
  • British Armed Forces - The British Army has continued the historic practice of recruiting Gurkhas from Nepal to serve in special Gurkha units. The Gurkhas are selected and recruited in Nepal, and are expected to keep their Nepali citizenship throughout the length of their service.
  • In 1989 previous restrictions on the enlistment of Commonwealth citizens in the British Armed Forces were lifted, following recruiting difficulties amongst British citizens. Under the new provisions Commonwealth citizens were permitted to enlist directly in any one of the British services and significant numbers did so in subsequent years. From 2013, all Commonwealth citizens except for those from Cyprus, the Republic of Ireland (not a member of the commonwealth) and Malta must have resided for 5 years in the UK before being allowed to join. As of the 23rd of May 2016, some of these restrictions for certain positions requiring residency in the United Kingdom have been lifted for Commonwealth citizens, due to recruiting difficulties.
  •  United States
  • United States Armed Forces - Permanent Residence/Green Card. Many have also served in the war zones and have received US citizenship after a period of service.
  • Citizens of Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands may also join the US armed forces under the Compacts of Free Association, though some officer positions may be restricted.
  • Canadian born Native Americans/First Nations may also join the US armed forces if they are of at least 50% blood quantum.
  • Additionally, under the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program, skilled foreigners such as translators may be recruited as needed, along with, as of September 2014 illegal immigrants with clean records and who have graduated high school if they were brought to the United States as children.
  •  United Arab Emirates
  • There are people from other Arab or nearby Muslim countries, who have served in the UAE, mainly in non-uniformed positions. This was mainly after independence from the UK in 1971, when the UAE government was still evolving. Prior to that, the UK stationed their own troops and equipment in the region (known as the Trucial States)
  • V

  •   Vatican City
  • Vatican City's sole armed forces, The Swiss Guard, is made up entirely of Swiss Catholics; however, Swiss Guards are granted Vatican citizenship while they serve.
  • References

    List of militaries that recruit foreigners Wikipedia

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