Group import/export (FREE)

  • Introduced in GitLab 13.0 as an experimental feature. May change in future releases.

Existing groups running on any GitLab instance or can be exported with all their related data and moved to a new GitLab instance.

The GitLab import/export button is displayed if the group import option in enabled.

See also:

To enable GitLab import/export:

  1. On the top bar, go to Menu > Admin > Settings > General > Visibility and access controls.
  2. Scroll to Import sources.
  3. Enable the desired Import sources.

Important Notes

Note the following:

  • Exports are stored in a temporary directory and are deleted every 24 hours by a specific worker.
  • To preserve group-level relationships from imported projects, run the Group Import/Export first, to allow projects to be imported into the desired group structure.
  • Imported groups are given a private visibility level, unless imported into a parent group.
  • If imported into a parent group, a subgroup inherits the same level of visibility unless otherwise restricted.
  • To preserve the member list and their respective permissions on imported groups, review the users in these groups. Make sure these users exist before importing the desired groups.

Exported Contents

The following items are exported:

  • Milestones
  • Labels
  • Boards and Board Lists
  • Badges
  • Subgroups (including all the aforementioned data)
  • Epics
  • Events
  • Wikis (PREMIUM SELF) (Introduced in GitLab 13.9)

The following items are not exported:

  • Projects
  • Runner tokens
  • SAML discovery tokens

NOTE: For more details on the specific data persisted in a group export, see the import_export.yml file.

Exporting a Group

  1. Navigate to your group's homepage.

  2. Click Settings in the sidebar.

  3. In the Advanced section, click the Export Group button.

    Export group panel

  4. After the export is generated, you should receive an email with a link to the exported contents in a compressed tar archive, with contents in NDJSON format.

  5. Alternatively, you can come back to the project settings and download the file from there by clicking Download export, or generate a new file by clicking Regenerate export.

NOTE: The maximum import file size can be set by the Administrator, default is 0 (unlimited). As an administrator, you can modify the maximum import file size. To do so, use the max_import_size option in the Application settings API or the Admin UI. Default modified from 50MB to 0 in GitLab 13.8.

Between CE and EE

You can export groups from the Community Edition to the Enterprise Edition and vice versa.

The Enterprise Edition retains some group data that isn't part of the Community Edition. If you're exporting a group from the Enterprise Edition to the Community Edition, you may lose this data. For more information, see downgrading from EE to CE.

Importing the group

  1. Navigate to the New Group page, either via the + button in the top navigation bar, or the New subgroup button on an existing group's page.

    Navigation paths to create a new group

  2. On the New Group page, select the Import group.

    Fill in group details

  3. Enter your group name.

  4. Accept or modify the associated group URL.

  5. Click Choose file

  6. Select the file that you exported in the exporting a group section.

  7. Click Import group to begin importing. Your newly imported group page appears after the operation completes.

Version history


In GitLab 14.0, the JSON format is no longer supported for project and group exports. To allow for a transitional period, you can still import any JSON exports. The new format for imports and exports is NDJSON.


GitLab can import bundles that were exported from a different GitLab deployment. This ability is limited to two previous GitLab minor releases, which is similar to our process for Security Releases.

For example:

Current version Can import bundles exported from
13.0 13.0, 12.10, 12.9
13.1 13.1, 13.0, 12.10

Rate Limits

To help avoid abuse, by default, users are rate limited to:

Request Type Limit
Export 6 groups per minute
Download export 1 download per group per minute
Import 6 groups per minute

Please note that may have different settings from the defaults.