Migrate groups from another instance of GitLab

Version history
On self-managed GitLab, by default this feature is available. To hide the feature, ask an administrator to disable the feature flag named bulk_import. On GitLab.com, this feature is available.

You can migrate your existing top-level groups to any of the following:

  • Another GitLab instance, including GitLab.com.
  • Another top-level group.
  • The subgroup of any existing top-level group.

Migrating groups is not the same as group import/export.

  • Group import/export requires you to export a group to a file and then import that file in another GitLab instance.
  • Group migration automates this process.

Import your groups into GitLab

When you migrate a group, you connect to your GitLab instance and then choose groups to import. Not all the data is migrated. View the Migrated resources list for details.

Leave feedback about group migration in this issue.

You might need to reconfigure your firewall to prevent blocking the connection on the self-managed instance.

Connect to the remote GitLab instance

Before you begin, ensure that the target GitLab instance can communicate with the source over HTTPS (HTTP is not supported). You might need to reconfigure your firewall to prevent blocking the connection on the self-managed instance.

Then create the group you want to import into, and connect:

  1. Create a new group or subgroup:

    • On the top bar, select + and then New group.
    • Or, on an existing group’s page, in the top right, select New subgroup.
  2. Select Import group.
  3. Enter the source URL of your GitLab instance.
  4. Generate or copy a personal access token with the api and read_repository scopes on your remote GitLab instance.
  5. Enter the personal access token for your remote GitLab instance.
  6. Select Connect instance.

Select the groups to import

After you have authorized access to the GitLab instance, you are redirected to the GitLab Group Migration importer page. The remote groups you have the Owner role for are listed.

  1. By default, the proposed group namespaces match the names as they exist in remote instance, but based on your permissions, you can choose to edit these names before you proceed to import any of them.
  2. Next to the groups you want to import, select Import.
  3. The Status column shows the import status of each group. If you leave the page open, it updates in real-time.
  4. After a group has been imported, select its GitLab path to open its GitLab URL.

Group Importer page

Automate group and project import

For information on automating user, group, and project import API calls, see Automate group and project import.

Migrated resources

Only the following resources are migrated to the target instance. Any other items are not migrated:

  • Groups (Introduced in 13.7)
    • description
    • attributes
    • subgroups
    • avatar (Introduced in 14.0)
  • Group labels (Introduced in 13.9)
  • Members (Introduced in 13.9) Group members are associated with the imported group if:
    • The user already exists in the target GitLab instance and
    • The user has a public email in the source GitLab instance that matches a confirmed email in the target GitLab instance
  • Epics (Introduced in 13.7)
  • Milestones (Introduced in 13.10)
    • title
    • description
    • state (active / closed)
    • start date
    • due date
    • created at
    • updated at
    • iid (Introduced in 13.11)
  • Iterations (Introduced in 13.10)
    • iid
    • title
    • description
    • state (upcoming / started / closed)
    • start date
    • due date
    • created at
    • updated at
  • Badges (Introduced in 13.11)
    • name
    • link URL
    • image URL
  • Boards
  • Board Lists

Troubleshooting Group Migration

In a rails console session, you can find the failure or error messages for the group import attempt using:

# Get relevant import records
import = BulkImports::Entity.where(namespace_id: Group.id).map(&:bulk_import)

# Alternative lookup by user
import = BulkImport.where(user_id: User.find(...)).last

# Get list of import entities. Each entity represents either a group or a project
entities = import.entities

# Get a list of entity failures

# Alternative failure lookup by status
entities.where(status: [-1]).pluck(:destination_name, :destination_namespace, :status)

Stale imports

Introduced in GitLab 14.10.

When troubleshooting group migration, an import may not complete because the import workers took longer than 8 hours to execute. In this case, the status of either a BulkImport or BulkImport::Entity is 3 (timeout):

# Get relevant import records
import = BulkImports::Entity.where(namespace_id: Group.id).map(&:bulk_import)

import.status #=> 3 means that the import timed out.