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Troubleshooting required status checks

You can check for common errors and resolve issues with required status checks.

Who can use this feature?

Protected branches are available in public repositories with GitHub Free and GitHub Free for organizations. Protected branches are also available in public and private repositories with GitHub Pro, GitHub Team, GitHub Enterprise Cloud, and GitHub Enterprise Server.For more information, see "GitHub’s plans."

If you have a check and a status with the same name, and you select that name as a required status check, both the check and the status are required. For more information, see "REST API endpoints for checks."

Note: To be required, status checks must have completed successfully within the chosen repository during the past seven days.

After you enable required status checks, your branch may need to be up-to-date with the base branch before merging. This ensures that your branch has been tested with the latest code from the base branch. If your branch is out of date, you'll need to merge the base branch into your branch. For more information, see "About protected branches."

Note: You can also bring your branch up to date with the base branch using Git rebase. For more information, see "About Git rebase."

You won't be able to push local changes to a protected branch until all required status checks pass. Instead, you'll receive an error message similar to the following.

remote: error: GH006: Protected branch update failed for refs/heads/main.
remote: error: Required status check "ci-build" is failing

Note: Pull requests that are up-to-date and pass required status checks can be merged locally and pushed to the protected branch. This can be done without status checks running on the merge commit itself.

Required check needs to succeed against the latest commit SHA

In order for a pull request to be merged, all required checks must pass against the latest commit SHA. This ensures that the most recent changes are validated and meet the required standards before merging. Checks that were triggered using a previous commit SHA will not be used as part of required checks.

Conflicts between head commit and test merge commit

Sometimes, the results of the status checks for the test merge commit and head commit will conflict. If the test merge commit has a status, the test merge commit must pass. Otherwise, the status of the head commit must pass before you can merge the branch.

If there is a conflict between the test merge commit and head commit, the checks for the test merge commit are shown in the pull request status checks box. This is indicated in the pull request status box by a line starting with Showing checks for the merge commit. For more information about test merge commits, see "REST API endpoints for pull requests."

Handling skipped but required checks

Warning: If a workflow is skipped due to path filtering, branch filtering or a commit message, then checks associated with that workflow will remain in a "Pending" state. A pull request that requires those checks to be successful will be blocked from merging.

You should not use path or branch filtering to skip workflow runs if the workflow is required to pass before merging. For more information, see "Skipping workflow runs" and "Available rules for rulesets."

If, however, a job within a workflow is skipped due to a conditional, it will report its status as "Success". For more information, see "Using conditions to control job execution."

When a job fails, any jobs that depend on the failed job are skipped and do not report a failure. A pull request that requires the check may not be blocked. To use a required check on a job that depends on other jobs, use the always() conditional expression in addition to needs, see "Using jobs in a workflow."


The following example shows a workflow that requires a "Successful" completion status for the build job, but the workflow will be skipped if the pull request does not change any files in the scripts directory.

name: ci
      - 'scripts/**'
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        node-version: [12.x, 14.x, 16.x]
    - uses: actions/checkout@v4
    - name: Use Node.js ${{ matrix.node-version }}
      uses: actions/setup-node@v4
        node-version: ${{ matrix.node-version }}
        cache: 'npm'
    - run: npm ci
    - run: npm run build --if-present
    - run: npm test

Due to path filtering, a pull request that only changes a file in the root of the repository will not trigger this workflow and is blocked from merging. On the pull request, you would see "Waiting for status to be reported."

You should not use path or branch filtering to skip workflow runs if the workflow is required to pass before merging. For more information, see "Skipping workflow runs" and "Available rules for rulesets."

Status checks with GitHub Actions and a Merge queue

You must use the merge_group event to trigger your GitHub Actions workflow when a pull request is added to a merge queue.

Note: If your repository uses GitHub Actions to perform required checks or if you require workflows via organization rulesets on pull requests in your repository, you need to update the workflows to include the merge_group event as an additional trigger. Otherwise, status checks will not be triggered when you add a pull request to a merge queue. The merge will fail as the required status check will not be reported. The merge_group event is separate from the pull_request and push events.

A workflow that reports a check which is required by the target branch's protections would look like this:


For more information on the merge_group event, see "Events that trigger workflows."

Required status checks from unexpected sources

It's also possible for a protected branch to require a status check from a specific GitHub App. If you see a message similar to the following, then you should verify that the check listed in the merge box was set by the expected app.

Required status check "build" was not set by the expected GitHub App.