Merge request approval settings

You can configure the settings for merge request approvals to ensure the approval rules meet your use case. You can also configure approval rules, which define the number and type of users who must approve work before it’s merged. Merge request approval settings define how those rules are applied as a merge request moves toward completion.

Edit merge request approval settings

To view or edit merge request approval settings:

  1. Go to your project and select Settings > General.
  2. Expand Merge request (MR) approvals.

In this section of general settings, you can configure the following settings:

Setting Description
Prevent approval by author When enabled, the author of a merge request cannot approve it.
Prevent approvals by users who add commits When enabled, users who have committed to a merge request cannot approve it.
Prevent editing approval rules in merge requests When enabled, users can’t override the project’s approval rules on merge requests.
Require user password to approve Force potential approvers to first authenticate with a password.
Remove all approvals when commits are added to the source branch When enabled, remove all existing approvals on a merge request when more changes are added to it.

Prevent approval by author

Moved to GitLab Premium in 13.9.

By default, the author of a merge request cannot approve it. To change this setting:

  1. Go to your project and select Settings > General.
  2. Expand Merge request (MR) approvals.
  3. Clear the Prevent approval by author checkbox.
  4. Select Save changes.

Authors can edit the approval rule in an individual merge request and override this setting, unless you configure one of these options:

Prevent approvals by users who add commits

Moved to GitLab Premium in 13.9.

By default, users who commit to a merge request can still approve it. At both the project level or instance level you can prevent committers from approving merge requests that are partially their own. To do this:

  1. Go to your project and select Settings > General.
  2. Expand Merge request (MR) approvals.
  3. Select the Prevent approvals by users who add commits checkbox. If this checkbox is cleared, an administrator has disabled it at the instance level, and it can’t be changed at the project level.
  4. Select Save changes.

Depending on your version of GitLab, code owners who commit to a merge request may or may not be able to approve the work:

  • In GitLab 13.10 and earlier, code owners who commit to a merge request can approve it, even if the merge request affects files they own.
  • In GitLab 13.11 and later, code owners who commit to a merge request cannot approve it, when the merge request affects files they own.

To learn more about the differences between authors and committers, read the official Git documentation for an explanation.

Prevent editing approval rules in merge requests

By default, users can override the approval rules you create for a project on a per-merge request basis. If you don’t want users to change approval rules on merge requests, you can disable this setting:

  1. Go to your project and select Settings > General.
  2. Expand Merge request (MR) approvals.
  3. Select the Prevent editing approval rules in merge requests checkbox.
  4. Select Save changes.

This change affects all open merge requests.

Require user password to approve

Version history
  • Introduced in GitLab 12.0.
  • Moved to GitLab Premium in 13.9.

You can force potential approvers to first authenticate with a password. This permission enables an electronic signature for approvals, such as the one defined by Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 11):

  1. Enable password authentication for the web interface, as described in the sign-in restrictions documentation.
  2. Go to your project and select Settings > General.
  3. Expand Merge request (MR) approvals.
  4. Select the Require user password to approve checkbox.
  5. Select Save changes.

Remove all approvals when commits are added to the source branch

By default, an approval on a merge request remains in place, even if you add more changes after the approval. If you want to remove all existing approvals on a merge request when more changes are added to it:

  1. Go to your project and select Settings > General.
  2. Expand Merge request (MR) approvals.
  3. Select the Remove all approvals when commits are added to the source branch checkbox.
  4. Select Save changes.

Approvals aren’t reset when a merge request is rebased from the UI However, approvals are reset if the target branch is changed.

Security approvals in merge requests

You can require that a member of your security team approves a merge request if a merge request could introduce a vulnerability.

To learn more, see Security approvals in merge requests.

Code coverage check approvals

You can require specific approvals if a merge request would result in a decline in code test coverage.

To learn more, see Coverage check approval rule.

Settings cascading

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

You can also enforce merge request approval settings:

  • At the instance level, which apply to all groups on an instance and, therefore, all projects.
  • On a top-level group, which apply to all subgroups and projects.

If the settings are inherited by a group or project, they cannot be changed in the group or project that inherited them.