Skip to content


Use this GitHub Action with your project

Add this Action to an existing workflow or create a new one.

View on Marketplace
Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

Automated Branch Pull Requests

This action will open a pull request to master branch (or otherwise specified) whenever a branch with some prefix is pushed to. The idea is that you can set up some workflow that pushes content to branches of the repostory, and you would then want this push reviewed for merge to master.

Here is an example of what to put in your .github/workflows/pull-request.yml file to trigger the action.

name: Pull Request on Branch Push
      - staging
      - launchpad
      - production
    name: PullRequestAction
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - name: pull-request-action
        uses: vsoch/pull-request-action@master
          GITHUB_TOKEN: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}
          BRANCH_PREFIX: "update/"
          PULL_REQUEST_BRANCH: "master"

Important: Make sure to use a stable release instead of a branch for your workflow.

Environment Variable Inputs

Unlike standard actions, this action just uses variables from the environment.

Name Description Required Default
BRANCH_PREFIX the prefix to filter to. If the branch doesn't start with the prefix, it will be ignored false ""
PULL_REQUEST_REPOSITORY Choose another repository instead of default GITHUB_REPOSITORY for the PR false
PULL_REQUEST_TOKEN Personal Access Token(PAT) only if you define a different repository with PULL_REQUEST_REPOSITORY false
PULL_REQUEST_BRANCH open pull request against this branch false master
PULL_REQUEST_FROM_BRANCH if a branch isn't found in your GitHub payload, use this branch false
PULL_REQUEST_BODY the body for the pull request false
PULL_REQUEST_TITLE the title for the pull request false
PULL_REQUEST_DRAFT should this be a draft PR? false unset
MAINTAINER_CANT_MODIFY Do not allow the maintainer to modify the PR false unset
PULL_REQUEST_ASSIGNEES A list (string with spaces) of users to assign false unset
PULL_REQUEST_REVIEWERS A list (string with spaces) of users to assign review false unset
PULL_REQUEST_TEAM_REVIEWERS A list (string with spaces) of teams to assign review false unset
PASS_ON_ERROR Instead of failing on an error response, pass false unset
PASS_IF_EXISTS Instead of failing if the pull request already exists, pass false unset
PULL_REQUEST_UPDATE If the pull request already exists, update it false unset
PULL_REQUEST_STATE If PULL_REQUEST_UPDATE is true, update to this state (open, closed) false open

For PULL_REQUEST_DRAFT, PASS_ON_ERROR, PASS_IF_EXISTS, and MAINTAINER_CANT_MODIFY, these are treated as environment booleans. If they are defined in the environment, they trigger the "true" condition. E.g.,:

  • Define MAINTAINER_CANT_MODIFY if you don't want the maintainer to be able to modify the pull request.
  • Define PULL_REQUEST_DRAFT if you want the PR to be a draft.
  • Define PASS_ON_ERROR if you want the PR to not exit given any non 200/201 response.
  • Define PASS_IF_EXISTS if you want the PR to not exit given the pull request is already open.
  • Define PULL_REQUEST_UPDATE if you want the pull request to be updated if it already exits.

For PULL_REQUEST_ASSIGNEES, PULL_REQUEST_REVIEWERS, and PULL_REQUEST_TEAM_REVIEWERS you can provide a string of one or more GitHub usernames (or team names) to assign to the issue. Note that only users with push access can add assigness to an issue or PR, they are ignored otherwise.

The GITHUB_TOKEN secret is required to interact and authenticate with the GitHub API to open the pull request. The example is deployed here with an example opened (and merged) pull request here if needed.

If you want to create a pull request to another repository, for example, a pull request to the upstream repository, you need to define PULL_REQUEST_REPOSITORY and PULL_REQUEST_TOKEN. The PULL_REQUEST_TOKEN is one Personal Access Token(PAT), which can be save in the encrypted secrets


The action sets a few useful output and environment variables. An output can be referenced later as ${{ steps.<stepname>.outputs.<output-name> }}. An environment variable of course can be referenced as you usually would.

Name Description Environment
pull_request_number If the pull request is opened, this is the number for it. PULL_REQUEST_NUMBER
pull_request_url If the pull request is opened, the html url for it. PULL_REQUEST_URL
pull_request_return_code Return code for the pull request PULL_REQUEST_RETURN_CODE
assignees_return_code Return code for the assignees request ASSIGNEES_RETURN_CODE
reviewers_return_code Return code for the reviewers request REVIEWERS_RETURN_CODE

See the examples/outputs-example.yml for how this works. In this example, we can reference ${{ steps.pull_request.outputs.pull_request_url }} in either another environment variable declaration, or within a run statement to access our variable pull_request_url that was generated in a step with id pull_request. The screenshot below shows the example in action to interact with outputs in several ways.



Example workflows are provided in examples, and please contribute any examples that you might have to help other users! You can get the same commit hashes and commented tags if you use the action-updater also maintained by @vsoch. We will walk through a basic example here for a niche case. Let's say that we are opening a pull request on the release event. This would mean that the payload's branch variable would be null. We would need to define PULL_REQUEST_FROM. How would we do that? We can set environment variables for next steps. Here is an example:

name: Pull Request on Branch Push
on: [release]
    name: PullRequestAction
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - name: Checkout Code
        uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - name: Derive from branch name
        run: |
            # do custom parsing of your code / date to derive a branch from
            PR_BRANCH_FROM=release-v$(cat VERSION)
      - name: pull-request-action
        uses: vsoch/pull-request-action@master
          GITHUB_TOKEN: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}
          PULL_REQUEST_BRANCH: "master"

The above workflow is triggered on a release, so the branch will be null in the GItHub payload. Since we want the release PR to come from a special branch, we derive it in the second step, and then set the PULL_REQUEST_FROM_BRANCH variable in the environment for the next step. In the Pull Request Action step, the pull request will be opened from PULL_REQUEST_FROM_BRANCH against PULL_REQUEST_BRANCH, which is master. If we do not set this variable, the job will exit in an error, as it is not clear what action to take.

Example use Case: Update Registry

As an example, I created this action to be intended for an organizational static registry for container builds. Specifically, you have modular repositories building container recipes, and then opening pull requests to the registry to update it.

  • the container collection content should be generated from a separate GitHub repository, including the folder structure (manifests, tags, collection README) that are expected.
  • the container collection metadata is pushed to a new branch on the registry repository, with namespace matching the GitHub repository, meaning that each GitHub repository always has a unique branch for its content.
  • pushing this branch that starts with the prefix (update/) triggers the GitHub actions to open the pull request.

If the branch is already open for PR, it updates it. Take a look at this example for the pull request opened when we updated the previous GitHub syntax to the new yaml syntax. Although this doesn't describe the workflow above, it works equivalently in terms of the triggers.