List of militaries that recruit foreigners

This is a list of militaries that recruit foreign applicants. This includes any individuals who are aliens of the polity 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. More than 90 states have implemented such recruitment policies between 1815 and 2020. [1]


  •   Australia
    • Australian Defence Force
    • 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:[2] In certain areas of the defence, especially sensitive work that involves collaboration with ASIO or ASIS, citizenship is a requirement.[3]



  •   Croatia
    • Croatian Armed Forces - Any ethnic Croat or a person of partial Croat ancestry has the right to obtain Croatian citizenship, thus becoming eligible to join the Croatian Armed Forces. This practice has been commonplace for ethnic Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, upon enlistment, potential personnel are required to renounce their dual citizenship with Bosnia & Herzegovina, in case they hold one.
  •   Cyprus


  •   Denmark
    • Danish Defence - 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.[10]



  •   Greece
    • Hellenic Armed Forces - Ethnic Greeks accepted to the military academies for officers or non-commissioned officers of the Greek armed forces (according to the special law governing each school) or who enlist in the armed forces as volunteers (according to the law governing each branch) acquire Greek nationality automatically from the time they enter the academies or are enlisted. Knowledge of Greek language at fluent level is required.





  •   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, US or Canadian Armed Forces, have been a citizen of either the UK, Australia, US, 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.[18]
  •   Norway


  •   Russia
    • The Russian Armed Forces accepts foreigners of any country to their ranks. Under a plan, posted on the ministry's web site in 2010, foreigners without dual citizenship are able to sign up for five-year contracts – and are 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 sign an initial five-year contract to join the Army.[20][21][22]



  •   Ukraine
  •   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.[26]
    • 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.[citation needed] 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.[27]
  •   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.[28]
    • 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.[29]
    • Canadian-born Native Americans/First Nations may also join the US Armed Forces if they are of at least 50% blood quantum.[30]
    • The Korean Augmentation To the United States Army (KATUSA) is a branch of the Republic of Korea Army that consists of Korean drafted personnel who are augmented to the Eighth United States Army (EUSA). KATUSA does not form an individual military unit, instead small numbers of KATUSA members are dispatched throughout the most of the Eighth United States Army departments, filling in positions for the United States Army enlisted soldiers and junior non-commissioned officers. KATUSAs are drafted from pool of qualified volunteers who are subjected to mandatory military service for Korean male citizens. While ROK Army holds the responsibility for personnel management of KATUSAs, KATUSA members are equipped with standard United States Army issues, and live and work with the U.S. enlisted soldiers.[31]
    • Additionally, under the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) 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.[32] As of December 2016, MAVNI is under review and closed indefinitely.
  •   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.[33] Prior to that, the UK stationed their own troops and equipment in the region (known as the Trucial States)[citation needed]


  •    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.[34]

Future openingsEdit

  •   Germany
    • In late 2018, the German Minister of Defence said that the German government is open to the possibility of opening some official positions to skilled EU citizens. In particular, positions such as medical officers and logistics officers are difficult to fill after the abolition of the mandatory military service in 2011. A decision has not yet been made.[citation needed]

Further readingEdit


  1. ^ Grasmeder, Elizabeth M.F. (2021). "Leaning on Legionnaires: Why Modern States Recruit Foreign Soldiers". International Security. 46 (1): 147–195. doi:10.1162/isec_a_00411. S2CID 236094319. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  2. ^ Nicholson, Brendan (December 27, 2011). "Defence hunting foreign troops with citizenship for service". The Australian. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  3. ^ "Do I have to be an Australian citizen to join the Australian Defence Force?". Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  4. ^ shiapost. "Hiring of Pakistani fighters for Bahrain angers Iran". The Shia Post. Archived from the original on 2014-04-29.[unreliable source?]
  5. ^ "Belgian army attracts foreigners". June 2005. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  6. ^ Szvircsev Tresch, Tibor. "Recruitment of Military Professionals by European All-Volunteer Forces as Exemplified by Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia" (PDF). Swiss Military Academy at ETH Zurich. Retrieved July 18, 2015. Thus, the armed forces of Belgium and Luxemburg also recruit other EU citizens
  7. ^ "Central login".
  8. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld - Bolivia: Citizenship law, including methods by which a person may obtain citizenship; whether dual citizenship is recognized". Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  9. ^ "HIGH COMMISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS IN LONDON - Consular Information". Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Danish Military Service for Foreign Nationals".
  11. ^ "Joining the French Foreign Legion". Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Army Education Corps" (PDF). Join Indian Army. Retrieved July 18, 2015. A candidate must either be : (i) A citizen of India, or (ii) A subject of Bhutan, or (iii) A subject of Nepal, or (iv) a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before the 1st of January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India or (v) a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.
  13. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Defence Forces Ireland.
  14. ^ Malet, David (July 22, 2014). "Foreign Fighters' for Israel". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  15. ^ "Luxembourg nationality for foreign army volunteers". Luxemburger Wort. May 21, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  16. ^ "La Compagnie des Carabiniers de S.A.S. le Prince - Palais Princier de Monaco". Archived from the original on 2012-06-09. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  17. ^ "Le recrutement : Principaute de Monaco". Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  18. ^ "Overseas Applicants". Defence Careers. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Skriftlig spørsmål" [Written questions from Dagfinn Høybråten (Christian Democratic Party) to the Minister of Defence] (in Norwegian). 2011. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  20. ^ "Russia's new Foreign Legion | NEWS". The Moscow News. 2010-11-25. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  21. ^ "Russia's Military To Recruit More Foreigners". 2011-12-16. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  22. ^ "Russia military looks to recruit more foreigners | Defense | RIA Novosti". 2010-11-25. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  23. ^ Szvircsev Tresch, Tibor. "Recruitment of Military Professionals by European All-Volunteer Forces as Exemplified by Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia" (PDF). Swiss Military Academy at ETH Zurich. Retrieved July 18, 2015. Spain even integrates Spanish-speaking South Americans into its armed forces.
  24. ^ "MINDEF - Parliamentary Statements - Written Reply by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen to Parliamentary Question on Permanent Residents in National Service (22 Nov 11)".
  25. ^ "Poroshenko legalizes foreigners in Ukrainian Army". 3 November 2015.
  26. ^ "Gurkha terms and conditions of service".
  27. ^ "Joining from the Commonwealth".
  28. ^ "Can Non-Citizens Join the Military?". Slate Magazine. July 7, 2000. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  29. ^ Azios, Tony (May 5, 2010). "Uncle Sam wants Micronesians for US military". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  30. ^ "Border Crossing Rights Under the Jay Treaty | Pine Tree Legal Assistance".
  31. ^ Se-hwan, Bak (8 July 2016). "[Weekender] Misunderstandings about KATUSA". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  32. ^ Dyer, John (September 26, 2014). "The Pentagon Will Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Join the US Military". Vice News. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  33. ^ "UAE national day: Pakistan helped evolve UAE armed forces, says consul-general". The Express Tribune.
  34. ^ Pontifical Swiss Guard