Project access tokens (CORE ONLY)

  • Introduced in GitLab 13.0.
  • It was deployed behind a feature flag, disabled by default.
  • Became enabled by default in GitLab 13.3.
  • It's disabled on
  • It can be enabled or disabled by project.
  • It's recommended for production use.
  • For GitLab self-managed instances, GitLab administrators can disable it.

Project access tokens are scoped to a project and can be used to authenticate with the GitLab API.

Project access tokens expire on the date you define, at midnight UTC.

For examples of how you can use a project access token to authenticate with the API, see the following section from our API Docs.

Creating a project access token

  1. Log in to GitLab.
  2. Navigate to the project you would like to create an access token for.
  3. In the Settings menu choose Access Tokens.
  4. Choose a name and optional expiry date for the token.
  5. Choose the desired scopes.
  6. Click the Create project access token button.
  7. Save the project access token somewhere safe. Once you leave or refresh the page, you won't be able to access it again.

Project bot users

For each project access token created, a bot user will also be created and added to the project with "Maintainer" level permissions.

For the bot:

  • The name is set to the name of the token.
  • The username is set to project_{project_id}_bot, such as project_123_bot.

API calls made with a project access token are associated with the corresponding bot user.

These users will appear in Members but can not be modified. Furthermore, the bot user can not be added to any other project.

When the project access token is revoked the bot user will be deleted and all records will be moved to a system-wide user with the username "Ghost User". For more information, see Associated Records.

Project bot users are a GitLab-created service account and do not count as a licensed seat.

Revoking a project access token

At any time, you can revoke any project access token by clicking the respective Revoke button in Settings > Access Tokens.

Limiting scopes of a project access token

Project access tokens can be created with one or more scopes that allow various actions that a given token can perform. The available scopes are depicted in the following table.

Scope Description
api Grants complete read/write access to the scoped project API.
read_api Grants read access to the scoped project API.
read_registry Allows read-access (pull) to container registry images if a project is private and authorization is required.
write_registry Allows write-access (push) to container registry.
read_repository Allows read-only access (pull) to the repository.
write_repository Allows read-write access (pull, push) to the repository.

Enable or disable project access tokens

Project access tokens are deployed behind a feature flag that is enabled by default. GitLab administrators with access to the GitLab Rails console can disable it for your instance, globally or by project.

To disable it globally:


To disable it for a specific project:

Feature.disable(:resource_access_token, project)

To enable it globally:


To enable it for a specific project:

Feature.enable(:resource_access_token, project)