Project import/export


  • Introduced in GitLab 8.9.
  • Importing will not be possible if the import instance version differs from that of the exporter.
  • For GitLab admins, please read through Project import/export administration.
  • For existing installations, the project import option has to be enabled in application settings (/admin/application_settings) under 'Import sources'. Ask your administrator if you don't see the GitLab export button when creating a new project.
  • Starting with GitLab 10.0, administrators can disable the project export option on the GitLab instance in application settings (/admin/application_settings) under 'Visibility and Access Controls'.
  • You can find some useful raketasks if you are an administrator in the import_export raketask.
  • The exports are stored in a temporary shared directory and are deleted every 24 hours by a specific worker.
  • Group members will get exported as project members, as long as the user has maintainer or admin access to the group where the exported project lives. An admin in the import side is required to map the users, based on email or username. Otherwise, a supplementary comment is left to mention the original author and the MRs, notes or issues will be owned by the importer.
  • Project members with owner access will get imported as maintainers.
  • Control project Import/Export with the API.
  • If an imported project contains merge requests originated from forks, then new branches associated with such merge requests will be created within a project during the import/export. Thus, the number of branches in the exported project could be bigger than in the original project.

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

Version history

GitLab version Import/Export version
11.1 to current 0.2.4
10.8 0.2.3
10.4 0.2.2
10.3 0.2.1
10.0 0.2.0
9.4.0 0.1.8
9.2.0 0.1.7
8.17.0 0.1.6
8.13.0 0.1.5
8.12.0 0.1.4
8.10.3 0.1.3
8.10.0 0.1.2
8.9.5 0.1.1
8.9.0 0.1.0

The table reflects what GitLab version we updated the Import/Export version at. For instance, 8.10.3 and 8.11 will have the same Import/Export version (0.1.3) and the exports between them will be compatible.

Exported contents

The following items will be exported:

  • Project and wiki repositories
  • Project uploads
  • Project configuration, including services
  • Issues with comments, merge requests with diffs and comments, labels, milestones, snippets, and other project entities
  • LFS objects
  • Issue boards

The following items will NOT be exported:

  • Build traces and artifacts
  • Container registry images
  • CI variables
  • Webhooks
  • Any encrypted tokens
  • Merge Request Approvers
  • Push Rules
  • Awards

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

Exporting a project and its data

  1. Go to your project's homepage.

  2. Click Settings in the sidebar.

  3. Scroll down to find the Export project button:

    Export button

  4. Once the export is generated, you should receive an e-mail with a link to download the file:

    Email download link

  5. Alternatively, you can come back to the project settings and download the file from there, or generate a new export. Once the file available, the page should show the Download export button:

    Download export

Importing the project

  1. The GitLab project import feature is the first import option when creating a new project. Click on GitLab export:

    New project

  2. Enter your project name and URL. Then select the file you exported previously:

    Select file

  3. Click on Import project to begin importing. Your newly imported project page will appear soon.

NOTE: Note: If use of the Internal visibility level is restricted, all imported projects are given the visibility of Private.