Do not require owner approval if the pull request is from an owner?

I just set up CODEOWNERS for a github repository. Let’s say we have such a line:

foobar/ @alice @bob

Also, in the repository setting, I required every pull request to get approvals from code owners. Therefore, if a pull request comes from another person, their pull request has to get approvals from either alice or bob before it is able to be merged.

So far so good. However, I found that even if alice makes a pull request, her pull request also needs to get approval from bob before it can be merged.

Is it possible to configure the repostiory so that a pull request from owner does not need owner approval? I understand that there are some scenarios in which it’s better for an owner to wait for another owner’s approval, so it would be great if this behavior could be configured. Thanks!


To my understanding, in your example if alice makes a matching pull request, she can still approve her own PR. Is that not what you’re seeing?

Github doesn’t allow pull request authors to add themselves as reviewers, so Alice is not able to approve her own PR.

Ironically, we have already been hit by this issue. We have required owner approval in one of our repos. In that repo, I’m the sole owner of one directory. I made one pull request that makes change in that directory. After I got an approval from a reviewer, I was told that my pull request is ready to merge. However, after I clicked the merge button, an error box appeared, saying that I have to wait for my own approval. Of course I then tried adding myself as a reviewer, but with no luck…

Ok, I think I understand what’s going on. In this instance, while alice and bob are owners of the specified code, they are not administrators on the repository? Or they are administrators and you have “Include administrators” selected on the protections for the protected brach? If alice is an administrator of the repository and “Include administrators” is unchecked then alice should be able to merge her own PR without requiring review or approval. Otherwise, yes, you are correct that currently bob would have to review and approve the PR.

I’m not sure if using a team (if this is a repo that belongs to an organization) instead of individuals would make this work differently. If this is a repo that belongs to an organization, let me know and I can dig further.


(Not sure why removes formatting in my last post. Reposting)

Thanks lee-dohm! This is a private repo that belongs to our company. In our company, we chose not to designate everybody as admin. Instead, every directory has one or more designated owners, and the directory owners take responsibility for the code quality and code review for that directory.

The feature we expect is that if Alice is an owner of the directory, when she makes changes on that directory, she should still get a general code review approval from another reviewer, but she does not need to get an owner approval to merge her PR.

However, github requires owners to also get owner approval, so we have found the following funny and painful cases:

* For some directories, there is just one go-to person, so he/she is the only owner. Then we found that he/she could not merge a pull request that makes changes on the directory he/she owns… But ironically, he/she could tell somebody else to submit a PR, and he/she approves it, then that PR could be merged :expressionless:

* For some directories, there are two go-to persons. But often, one is in Asia, while the other is in the US. Each owner has to wait until the owner approval from the other owner (in another continent). The time cost is painful…


Thank you for the extra detail @yiming9.

This is currently a known issue that our engineering team is working on—though I can’t promise an ETA of when this behaviour will change.

In the meantime, our suggestion is to either:

  1. Disable the option for requiring reviews from code owners in the protected branch settings
  2. Elevate yourself to admin access to allow you to override this branch protection

We’ll let you know when we have any updates on this.

lee-dohm - Do users still have this problem if they use a group/team alias instead of specific people? For example, you create a group alias in github that Alice and Bob are both members of, Then when Alice opens up the PR, will she be able to approve her own PR as being part of the group alias, not the individual person?

I am going to end up having this same issue with our org is why I ask.

We have github enterprise and did run into the same problem already.

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To my understanding, it doesn’t matter whether they are listed individually or as members of a team. But I would recommend trying it out, just make a test repo in your organization and a test team with yourself as the only member. You can see how I tested the non-team version in a personal repo of mine.

Experiencing the same issue here. I end up disabling code owners every time i want to merge my own PR (i am the code owner)

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Hey everyone …

Thanks for your patience while we worked on this! I just wanted to let you all know that we’ve deployed a fix that should resolve the issue.

Sorry for the trouble, and please let us know if there’s anything else we can do.

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Issue still exists. 


Hi @kavionline,

Hmmm, if you’re still experiencing the issue, can you write to our private support team so we can take a look at your specific account? That will help us troubleshoot for you better. Thanks!

@lee-dohm @nadiajoyce

Issue is still there. I am one of the codeowners of the repo (not an admin) and cannot approve my own PRs nor can I merge the PR I created w/o another owner approval.

Support chat link in this thread doesn’t work either.

@mikhailkolesnik Apologies! I’ve fixed the broken link in my last comment. Please do reach out to private support at for help troubleshooting this issue.

The issue still exists. See and

Hi @dor1s Can you please reach out to our private support team so they can take a closer look at your specific account to troubleshoot this? 

Yes, sure, I’ve already done that. But doesn’t it feel like something is not working if so many people still complain?


We’ve definitely taken note and are looking into it. I was able to confirm we got your email and someone should be getting back to you soon. Thank you for your patience and for opening up that ticket!

Have same issue. Please let me know once you get a fix. Thanks!

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