Troubleshooting direct transfer migrations

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:

# 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)

You can also see all migrated entities with any failures related to them using an API endpoint.

Stale imports

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:

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

Error: 404 Group Not Found

If you attempt to import a group that has a path comprised of only numbers (for example, 5000), GitLab attempts to find the group by ID instead of the path. This causes a 404 Group Not Found error in GitLab 15.4 and earlier.

To solve this, you must change the source group path to include a non-numerical character using either:

  • The GitLab UI:

    1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your group.
    2. Select Settings > General.
    3. Expand Advanced.
    4. Under Change group URL, change the group URL to include non-numeric characters.
  • The Groups API.

Other 404 errors

You can receive other 404 errors when importing a group, for example:

"exception_message": "Unsuccessful response 404 from [FILTERED] Bo...",
"exception_class": "BulkImports::NetworkError",

This error indicates a problem transferring from the source instance. To solve this, check that you have met the prerequisites on the source instance.

Mismatched group or project path names

If a source group or project path doesn’t conform to naming limitations, the path is normalized to ensure it is valid. For example, Destination-Project-Path is normalized to destination-project-path.