Permissions and roles

Users have different abilities depending on the role they have in a particular group or project. If a user is both in a project’s group and the project itself, the highest role is used.

On public and internal projects, the Guest role (not to be confused with Guest user) is not enforced.

When a member leaves a team’s project, all the assigned issues and merge requests are automatically unassigned.

GitLab administrators receive all permissions.

To add or import a user, you can follow the project members documentation.

Principles behind permissions

See our product handbook on permissions.

Instance-wide user permissions

By default, users can create top-level groups and change their usernames. A GitLab administrator can configure the GitLab instance to modify this behavior.

Project members permissions

noteIn GitLab 11.0, the Master role was renamed to Maintainer.

The Owner role is only available at the group or personal namespace level (and for instance administrators) and is inherited by its projects. While Maintainer is the highest project-level role, some actions can only be performed by a personal namespace or group owner, or an instance administrator, who receives all permissions. For more information, see projects members documentation.

The following table lists project permissions available for each role:

Action Guest Reporter Developer Maintainer Owner
Download project ✓ (1)
Leave comments
View allowed and denied licenses ✓ (1)
View License Compliance reports ✓ (1)
View Security reports ✓ (3)
View Dependency list    
View License list  
View Threats list    
Create and run on-demand DAST scans    
View licenses in Dependency list ✓ (1)
View Design Management pages
View project code ✓ (1)
Pull project code ✓ (1)
View GitLab Pages protected by access control
View wiki pages
See a list of jobs ✓ (3)
See a job log ✓ (3)
See a job with debug logging    
Download and browse job artifacts ✓ (3)
Create confidential issue
Create new issue
See linked issues
View Releases ✓ (6)
View requirements
View Insights
View Issue analytics
View Merge Request analytics
View Value Stream analytics
Manage user-starred metrics dashboards (7)
View confidential issues (2)
Assign issues  
Assign reviewers  
Label issues  
Set issue weight  
Set issue estimate and record time spent  
View a time tracking report ✓ (1)
Lock issue threads  
Manage issue tracker  
Manage linked issues  
Manage labels  
Create code snippets  
See a commit status  
See a container registry  
See environments  
See DORA metrics  
See a list of merge requests  
View CI/CD analytics  
View Code Review analytics  
View Repository analytics  
View Error Tracking list  
View metrics dashboard annotations  
Archive/reopen requirements  
Create/edit requirements  
Import/export requirements  
Create new test case  
Archive test case  
Move test case  
Reopen test case  
Pull packages  
View project statistics  
Publish packages    
Create/edit/delete a Cleanup policy    
Upload Design Management files    
Create/edit/delete releases     ✓ (13) ✓ (13) ✓ (13)
Manage merge approval rules (project settings)      
Create new merge request    
Create new branches    
Push to non-protected branches    
Force push to non-protected branches    
Remove non-protected branches    
Assign merge requests    
Label merge requests    
Lock merge request threads    
Approve merge requests (9)    
Manage/Accept merge requests    
Create new environments    
Stop environments    
Enable Review Apps    
View Pods logs    
Read Terraform state    
Add tags    
Cancel and retry jobs    
Create or update commit status     ✓ (5)
Update a container registry    
Remove a container registry image    
Create/edit/delete project milestones    
Use security dashboard    
View vulnerability findings in Dependency list    
Create issue from vulnerability finding    
Dismiss vulnerability finding    
View vulnerability    
Create vulnerability from vulnerability finding    
Resolve vulnerability    
Dismiss vulnerability    
Revert vulnerability to detected state    
Apply code change suggestions    
Create and edit wiki pages    
Rewrite/remove Git tags    
Manage Feature Flags    
Create/edit/delete metrics dashboard annotations    
Run CI/CD pipeline against a protected branch     ✓ (5)
Delete packages      
Request a CVE ID      
Use environment terminals      
Run Web IDE’s Interactive Web Terminals      
Add new team members      
Enable/disable branch protection      
Push to protected branches      
Turn on/off protected branch push for developers      
Enable/disable tag protections      
Edit project settings      
Edit project badges      
Export project      
Share (invite) projects with groups       ✓ (8) ✓ (8)
Add deploy keys to project      
Configure project hooks      
Manage runners      
Manage job triggers      
Manage CI/CD variables      
Manage GitLab Pages      
Manage GitLab Pages domains and certificates      
Remove GitLab Pages      
Manage clusters      
Manage Project Operations      
Manage Terraform state      
Manage license policy      
Manage security policy    
Create or assign security policy project        
Edit comments (posted by any user)      
Reposition comments on images (posted by any user) ✓ (10) ✓ (10) ✓ (10)
Manage Error Tracking      
Delete wiki pages      
View project Audit Events     ✓ (11)
Manage push rules      
Manage project access tokens (12)      
View 2FA status of members      
Switch visibility level        
Transfer project to another namespace        
Rename project        
Remove fork relationship        
Delete project        
Archive project        
Delete issues        
Delete pipelines        
Delete merge request        
Disable notification emails        
Administer project compliance frameworks        
Force push to protected branches (4)          
Remove protected branches (4)          
  1. Guest users are able to perform this action on public and internal projects, but not private projects. This doesn’t apply to external users where explicit access must be given even if the project is internal.
  2. Guest users can only view the confidential issues they created themselves.
  3. If Public pipelines is enabled in Project Settings > CI/CD.
  4. Not allowed for Guest, Reporter, Developer, Maintainer, or Owner. See protected branches.
  5. If the branch is protected, this depends on the access Developers and Maintainers are given.
  6. Guest users can access GitLab Releases for downloading assets but are not allowed to download the source code nor see repository information like tags and commits.
  7. Actions are limited only to records owned (referenced) by user.
  8. When Share Group Lock is enabled the project can’t be shared with other groups. It does not affect group with group sharing.
  9. For information on eligible approvers for merge requests, see Eligible approvers.
  10. Applies only to comments on Design Management designs.
  11. Users can only view events based on their individual actions.
  12. Project access tokens are supported for self-managed instances on Free and above. They are also supported on GitLab SaaS Premium and above (excluding trial licenses).
  13. If the tag is protected, this depends on the access Developers and Maintainers are given.

Project features permissions

Wiki and issues

Project features like wikis and issues can be hidden from users depending on which visibility level you select on project settings.

  • Disabled: disabled for everyone
  • Only team members: only team members can see even if your project is public or internal
  • Everyone with access: everyone can see depending on your project’s visibility level
  • Everyone: enabled for everyone (only available for GitLab Pages)

Protected branches

Additional restrictions can be applied on a per-branch basis with protected branches. Additionally, you can customize permissions to allow or prevent project Maintainers and Developers from pushing to a protected branch. Read through the documentation on protected branches to learn more.

Value Stream Analytics permissions

Find the current permissions on the Value Stream Analytics dashboard, as described in related documentation.

Issue Board permissions

Find the current permissions for interacting with the Issue Board feature in the Issue Boards permissions page.

File Locking permissions

The user that locks a file or directory is the only one that can edit and push their changes back to the repository where the locked objects are located.

Read through the documentation on permissions for File Locking to learn more.

Confidential Issues permissions

Confidential issues can be accessed by users with reporter and higher permission levels, as well as by guest users that create a confidential issue. To learn more, read through the documentation on permissions and access to confidential issues.

Group members permissions

noteIn GitLab 11.0, the Master role was renamed to Maintainer.

Any user can remove themselves from a group, unless they are the last Owner of the group.

The following table lists group permissions available for each role:

Action Guest Reporter Developer Maintainer Owner
Browse group
Edit SAML SSO Billing ✓ (4)
View Contribution analytics
View group epic
View group wiki pages ✓ (6)
View Insights
View Insights charts
View Issue analytics
View Value Stream analytics
Create/edit group epic  
Create/edit/delete epic boards  
Manage group labels  
Pull packages  
View a container registry  
View Group DevOps Adoption  
View metrics dashboard annotations  
View Productivity analytics  
Create and edit group wiki pages    
Create project in group     ✓ (3)(5) ✓ (3) ✓ (3)
Create/edit/delete group milestones    
Create/edit/delete iterations    
Create/edit/delete metrics dashboard annotations    
Enable/disable a dependency proxy    
Publish packages    
Use security dashboard    
View group Audit Events     ✓ (7) ✓ (7)
Create subgroup       ✓ (1)
Delete group wiki pages      
Edit epic comments (posted by any user)       ✓ (2) ✓ (2)
List group deploy tokens      
Manage group push rules      
View/manage group-level Kubernetes cluster      
Administer project compliance frameworks        
Create/Delete group deploy tokens        
Delete group        
Delete group epic        
Disable notification emails        
Edit group settings        
Filter members by 2FA status        
Manage group level CI/CD variables        
Manage group members        
Share (invite) groups with groups        
View 2FA status of members        
View Billing         ✓ (4)
View Usage Quotas         ✓ (4)
  1. Groups can be set to allow either Owners or Owners and Maintainers to create subgroups
  2. Introduced in GitLab 12.2.
  3. Default project creation role can be changed at:
  4. Does not apply to subgroups.
  5. Developers can push commits to the default branch of a new project only if the default branch protection is set to “Partially protected” or “Not protected”.
  6. In addition, if your group is public or internal, all users who can see the group can also see group wiki pages.
  7. Users can only view events based on their individual actions.

Subgroup permissions

When you add a member to a subgroup, they inherit the membership and permission level from the parent group(s). This model allows access to nested groups if you have membership in one of its parents.

To learn more, read through the documentation on subgroups memberships.

External users

In cases where it is desired that a user has access only to some internal or private projects, there is the option of creating External Users. This feature may be useful when for example a contractor is working on a given project and should only have access to that project.

External users:

  • Can only create projects (including forks), subgroups, and snippets within the top-level group to which they belong.
  • Can only access public projects and projects to which they are explicitly granted access, thus hiding all other internal or private ones from them (like being logged out).
  • Can only access public groups and groups to which they are explicitly granted access, thus hiding all other internal or private ones from them (like being logged out).
  • Can only access public snippets.

Access can be granted by adding the user as member to the project or group. Like usual users, they receive a role in the project or group with all the abilities that are mentioned in the permissions table above. For example, if an external user is added as Guest, and your project is internal or private, they do not have access to the code; you need to grant the external user access at the Reporter level or above if you want them to have access to the code. You should always take into account the project’s visibility and permissions settings as well as the permission level of the user.

noteExternal users still count towards a license seat.

An administrator can flag a user as external by either of the following methods:

  • Through the API.
  • Using the GitLab UI:
    1. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
    2. On the left sidebar, select Overview > Users to create a new user or edit an existing one. There, you can find the option to flag the user as external.

Additionally users can be set as external users using SAML groups and LDAP groups.

Setting new users to external

By default, new users are not set as external users. This behavior can be changed by an administrator:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Settings > General.
  3. Expand the Account and limit section.

If you change the default behavior of creating new users as external, you have the option to narrow it down by defining a set of internal users. The Internal users field allows specifying an email address regex pattern to identify default internal users. New users whose email address matches the regex pattern are set to internal by default rather than an external collaborator.

The regex pattern format is in Ruby, but it needs to be convertible to JavaScript, and the ignore case flag is set (/regex pattern/i). Here are some examples:

  • Use \.internal@domain\.com$ to mark email addresses ending with .internal@domain.com as internal.
  • Use ^(?:(?!\.ext@domain\.com).)*$\r? to mark users with email addresses NOT including .ext@domain.com as internal.
cautionBe aware that this regex could lead to a regular expression denial of service (ReDoS) attack.

Free Guest users

When a user is given Guest permissions on a project, group, or both, and holds no higher permission level on any other project or group on the GitLab instance, the user is considered a guest user by GitLab and does not consume a license seat. There is no other specific “guest” designation for newly created users.

If the user is assigned a higher role on any projects or groups, the user takes a license seat. If a user creates a project, the user becomes a Maintainer on the project, resulting in the use of a license seat. Also, note that if your project is internal or private, Guest users have all the abilities that are mentioned in the permissions table above (they are unable to browse the project’s repository, for example).

noteTo prevent a guest user from creating projects, as an admin, you can edit the user’s profile to mark the user as external. Beware though that even if a user is external, if they already have Reporter or higher permissions in any project or group, they are not counted as a free guest user.

Auditor users

Auditor users are given read-only access to all projects, groups, and other resources on the GitLab instance.

An Auditor user should be able to access all projects and groups of a GitLab instance with the permissions described on the documentation on auditor users permissions.

Read more about Auditor users.

Users with minimal access

Owners can add members with a “minimal access” role to a parent group. Such users don’t automatically have access to projects and subgroups underneath. To support such access, owners must explicitly add these “minimal access” users to the specific subgroups/projects.

Users with minimal access can list the group in the UI and through the API. However, they cannot see details such as projects or subgroups. They do not have access to the group’s page or list any of its subgroups or projects.

Minimal access users take license seats

Users with even a “minimal access” role are counted against your number of license seats. This requirement does not apply for GitLab Ultimate subscriptions.

Project features

Project features like wiki and issues can be hidden from users depending on which visibility level you select on project settings.

  • Disabled: disabled for everyone
  • Only team members: only team members will see even if your project is public or internal
  • Everyone with access: everyone can see depending on your project visibility level
  • Everyone: enabled for everyone (only available for GitLab Pages)

GitLab CI/CD permissions

noteIn GitLab 11.0, the Master role was renamed to Maintainer.

GitLab CI/CD permissions rely on the role the user has in GitLab. There are four roles:

  • Administrator
  • Maintainer
  • Developer
  • Guest/Reporter

The Administrator role can perform any action on GitLab CI/CD in scope of the GitLab instance and project.

Action Guest, Reporter Developer Maintainer Administrator
See commits and jobs
Retry or cancel job  
Erase job artifacts and job logs   ✓ (1)
Delete project    
Create project    
Change project configuration    
Add specific runners    
Add shared runners      
See events in the system      
Admin Area      
  1. Only if the job was:
    • Triggered by the user
    • In GitLab 13.0 and later, run for a non-protected branch.

Job permissions

noteIn GitLab 11.0, the Master role was renamed to Maintainer.

This table shows granted privileges for jobs triggered by specific types of users:

Action Guest, Reporter Developer Maintainer Admin
Run CI job  
Clone source and LFS from current project  
Clone source and LFS from public projects  
Clone source and LFS from internal projects   ✓ (1) ✓ (1)
Clone source and LFS from private projects   ✓ (2) ✓ (2) ✓ (2)
Pull container images from current project  
Pull container images from public projects  
Pull container images from internal projects   ✓ (1) ✓ (1)
Pull container images from private projects   ✓ (2) ✓ (2) ✓ (2)
Push container images to current project  
Push container images to other projects        
Push source and LFS        
  1. Only if the user is not an external one
  2. Only if the user is a member of the project

Running pipelines on protected branches

The permission to merge or push to protected branches is used to define if a user can run CI/CD pipelines and execute actions on jobs that are related to those branches.

See Security on protected branches for details about the pipelines security model.

Release permissions with protected tags

The permission to create tags is used to define if a user can create, edit, and delete Releases.

See Release permissions for more information.

LDAP users permissions

In GitLab 8.15 and later, LDAP user permissions can now be manually overridden by an admin user. Read through the documentation on LDAP users permissions to learn more.

Project aliases

Project aliases can only be read, created and deleted by a GitLab administrator. Read through the documentation on Project aliases to learn more.