OpenID Connect (OIDC) Authentication Using ID Tokens

Introduced in GitLab 15.7.

You can authenticate with third party services using GitLab CI/CD’s ID tokens.

ID Tokens

ID tokens are JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) that can be added to a GitLab CI/CD job. They can be used for OIDC authentication with third-party services, and are used by the secrets keyword to authenticate with HashiCorp Vault.

ID tokens are configured in the .gitlab-ci.yml. For example:


In this example, the two tokens have different aud claims. Third party services can be configured to reject tokens that do not have an aud claim matching their bound audience. Use this functionality to reduce the number of services with which a token can authenticate. This reduces the severity of having a token compromised.

Token payload

The following standard claims are included in each ID token:

issIssuer of the token, which is the domain of the GitLab instance (“issuer” claim).
sub project_path:{group}/{project}:ref_type:{type}:ref:{branch_name} (“subject” claim).
audIntended audience for the token (“audience” claim). Specified in the ID tokens configuration. The domain of the GitLab instance by default.
expThe expiration time (“expiration time” claim).
nbfThe time after which the token becomes valid (“not before” claim).
iatThe time the JWT was issued (“issued at” claim).
jtiUnique identifier for the token (“JWT ID” claim).

The token also includes custom claims provided by GitLab:

namespace_idAlwaysUse this to scope to group or user level namespace by ID.
namespace_pathAlwaysUse this to scope to group or user level namespace by path.
project_idAlwaysUse this to scope to project by ID.
project_pathAlwaysUse this to scope to project by path.
user_idAlwaysID of the user executing the job.
user_loginAlwaysUsername of the user executing the job.
user_emailAlwaysEmail of the user executing the job.
user_identitiesUser Preference settingList of the user’s external identities (introduced in GitLab 16.0).
pipeline_idAlwaysID of the pipeline.
pipeline_sourceAlways Pipeline source.
job_idAlwaysID of the job.
refAlwaysGit ref for the job.
ref_typeAlwaysGit ref type, either branch or tag.
ref_pathAlwaysFully qualified ref for the job. For example, refs/heads/main. Introduced in GitLab 16.0.
ref_protectedAlways true if the Git ref is protected, false otherwise.
environmentJob specifies an environmentEnvironment this job deploys to (introduced in GitLab 13.9).
environment_protectedJob specifies an environment true if deployed environment is protected, false otherwise (introduced in GitLab 13.9).
deployment_tierJob specifies an environment Deployment tier of the environment the job specifies. Introduced in GitLab 15.2.
runner_idAlwaysID of the runner executing the job. Introduced in GitLab 16.0.
runner_environmentAlwaysThe type of runner used by the job. Can be either gitlab-hosted or self-hosted. Introduced in GitLab 16.0.
shaAlwaysThe commit SHA for the job. Introduced in GitLab 16.0.
ci_config_ref_uriAlwaysThe ref path to the top-level pipeline definition, for example, Introduced in GitLab 16.2. This claim is null unless the pipeline definition is located in the same project.
ci_config_shaAlwaysGit commit SHA for the ci_config_ref_uri. Introduced in GitLab 16.2. This claim is null unless the pipeline definition is located in the same project.
project_visibilityAlwaysThe visibility of the project where the pipeline is running. Can be internal, private, or public. Introduced in GitLab 16.3.
  "namespace_id": "72",
  "namespace_path": "my-group",
  "project_id": "20",
  "project_path": "my-group/my-project",
  "user_id": "1",
  "user_login": "sample-user",
  "user_email": "",
  "user_identities": [
      {"provider": "github", "extern_uid": "2435223452345"},
      {"provider": "bitbucket", "extern_uid": "john.smith"},
  "pipeline_id": "574",
  "pipeline_source": "push",
  "job_id": "302",
  "ref": "feature-branch-1",
  "ref_type": "branch",
  "ref_path": "refs/heads/feature-branch-1",
  "ref_protected": "false",
  "environment": "test-environment2",
  "environment_protected": "false",
  "deployment_tier": "testing",
  "runner_id": 1,
  "runner_environment": "self-hosted",
  "sha": "714a629c0b401fdce83e847fc9589983fc6f46bc",
  "project_visibility": "public",
  "ci_config_ref_uri": "",
  "ci_config_sha": "714a629c0b401fdce83e847fc9589983fc6f46bc",
  "jti": "235b3a54-b797-45c7-ae9a-f72d7bc6ef5b",
  "iss": "",
  "iat": 1681395193,
  "nbf": 1681395188,
  "exp": 1681398793,
  "sub": "project_path:my-group/my-project:ref_type:branch:ref:feature-branch-1",
  "aud": ""

The ID token is encoded by using RS256 and signed with a dedicated private key. The expiry time for the token is set to the job’s timeout if specified, or 5 minutes if no timeout is specified.

Manual ID Token authentication

You can use ID tokens for OIDC authentication with a third party service. For example:

  image: vault:latest
    - export VAULT_TOKEN="$(vault write -field=token auth/jwt/login role=myproject-example jwt=$VAULT_ID_TOKEN)"
    - export PASSWORD="$(vault kv get -field=password secret/myproject/example/db)"

Automatic ID Token authentication with HashiCorp Vault

You can use ID tokens to automatically fetch secrets from HashiCorp Vault with the secrets keyword.

If you previously used CI_JOB_JWT to fetch secrets from Vault, learn how to switch to ID tokens with the Update HashiCorp Vault configuration to use ID Tokens tutorial.

Configure automatic ID Token authentication

If one ID token is defined, the secrets keyword automatically uses it to authenticate with Vault. For example:

      vault: example/db/password # authenticates using $VAULT_ID_TOKEN
    - --token $PROD_DB_PASSWORD

If more than one ID token is defined, use the token keyword to specify which token should be used. For example:

      vault: first/db/password
      token: $FIRST_ID_TOKEN
      vault: second/db/password
      token: $SECOND_ID_TOKEN
    - --token $FIRST_DB_PASSWORD
    - --token $SECOND_DB_PASSWORD

Enable automatic ID token authentication (deprecated)

This setting was removed in GitLab 16.0. ID token authentication is now always available, and JSON Web Token access is always limited.

To enable automatic ID token authentication:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.
  2. Select Settings > CI/CD.
  3. Expand Token Access.
  4. Turn on the Limit JSON Web Token (JWT) access toggle.


400: missing token status code

This error indicates that one or more basic components necessary for ID tokens are either missing or not configured as expect.

To find the problem, an administrator can look for more details in the instance’s exceptions_json.log for the specific method that failed.


This error in the exceptions_json.log file is likely because the signing key is missing from the database and the token could not be generated. To verify this is the issue, run the following query on the instance’s PostgreSQL terminal:

SELECT encrypted_ci_jwt_signing_key FROM application_settings;

If the returned value is empty, use the Rails snippet below to generate a new key and replace it internally:

  key =

  ApplicationSetting.find_each do |application_setting|
    application_setting.update(ci_jwt_signing_key: key)