Key policies in Amazon KMS - Amazon Key Management Service
Services or capabilities described in Amazon Web Services documentation might vary by Region. To see the differences applicable to the China Regions, see Getting Started with Amazon Web Services in China.

Key policies in Amazon KMS

Key policies are the primary way to control access to Amazon KMS keys. Every KMS key must have exactly one key policy. The statements in the key policy document determine who has permission to use the KMS key and how they can use it. You can also use IAM policies and grants to control access to the KMS key, but every KMS key must have a key policy. For more information, see Managing access to KMS keys.

For help writing and formatting a JSON policy document, see the IAM JSON Policy Reference in the IAM User Guide.

Overview of key policies

Every KMS key must have exactly one key policy. This key policy controls access only to its associated KMS key, along with IAM policies and grants. Unlike IAM policies, which are global, key policies are Regional. Each key policy is effective only in the Region that hosts the KMS key.

A key policy is implemented as a JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) document of up to 32 KB (32,768 bytes). You can create and manage key policies in the Amazon KMS console or by using Amazon KMS API operations, such as CreateKey and PutKeyPolicy.

Key policy documents use the same JSON syntax as other policy documents in Amazon and have the following basic structure:

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Sid": "Describe the policy statement", "Effect": "Allow", "Principal": { "AWS": "arn:aws:iam::111122223333:user/Alice" }, "Action": "kms:DescribeKey", "Resource": "*", "Condition": { "StringEquals": { "kms:KeySpec": "SYMMETRIC_DEFAULT" } } } ] }

For information about using the console default view for key policies, see Default key policy and Changing a key policy. For help writing and formatting a JSON policy document, see the IAM JSON Policy Reference in the IAM User Guide.

A key policy document must have a Version element. We recommend setting the version to 2012-10-17 (the latest version). In addition, a key policy document must have one or more statements, and each statement consists of up to six elements:

  • Sid – (Optional) The Sid is a statement identifier, an arbitrary string you can use to identify the statement.

  • Effect – (Required) The effect specifies whether to allow or deny the permissions in the policy statement. The Effect must be Allow or Deny. If you don't explicitly allow access to a KMS key, access is implicitly denied. You can also explicitly deny access to a KMS key. You might do this to make sure that a user cannot access it, even when a different policy allows access.

  • Principal – (Required) The principal is the identity that gets the permissions specified in the policy statement. You can specify Amazon Web Services accounts (root), IAM users, IAM roles, and some Amazon services as principals in a key policy. IAM groups are not valid principals.

    When the principal is another Amazon Web Services account or its principals, the permissions are effective only when the account is enabled in the Region with the KMS key and key policy. For information about Regions that are not enabled by default ("opt-in Regions"), see Managing Amazon Web Services Regions in the Amazon General Reference.


    Do not set the Principal to an asterisk (*) in any key policy statement that allows permissions unless you use conditions to limit the key policy. An asterisk gives every identity in every Amazon Web Services account permission to use the KMS key, unless another policy statement explicitly denies it. Users in other Amazon Web Services accounts just need corresponding IAM permissions in their own accounts to use the KMS key.

  • Action – (Required) Actions specify the API operations to allow or deny. For example, the kms:Encrypt action corresponds to the Amazon KMS Encrypt operation. You can list more than one action in a policy statement. For more information, see Permissions reference.

  • Resource – (Required) In a key policy, the value of the Resource element is "*", which means "this KMS key." The asterisk ("*") identifies the KMS key to which the key policy is attached.

  • Condition – (Optional) Conditions specify requirements that must be met for a key policy to take effect. With conditions, Amazon can evaluate the context of an API request to determine whether or not the policy statement applies.

    The format for a condition is:

    "Condition": {"condition operator": {"condition key": "condition value"}}

    such as:

    "Condition": {"StringEquals": {"kms:CallerAccount": "111122223333"}}

    For more information, see Policy conditions.

For more information about Amazon policy syntax, see Amazon IAM Policy Reference in the IAM User Guide.

Example key policy

The following example shows a complete key policy for a symmetric KMS key. This key policy combines the example policy statements from the preceding default key policy section into a single key policy that accomplishes the following:

  • Allows the Amazon Web Services account (root user) 111122223333 full access to the KMS key, and thus enables IAM policies in the account to allow access to the KMS key.

  • Allows IAM user KMSAdminUser and IAM role KMSAdminRole to administer the KMS key.

  • Allows IAM user ExampleUser, IAM role ExampleRole, and Amazon Web Services account 444455556666 to use the KMS key.

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Id": "key-consolepolicy-2", "Statement": [ { "Sid": "Enable IAM policies", "Effect": "Allow", "Principal": {"AWS": "arn:aws:iam::111122223333:root"}, "Action": "kms:*", "Resource": "*" }, { "Sid": "Allow access for Key Administrators", "Effect": "Allow", "Principal": {"AWS": [ "arn:aws:iam::111122223333:user/KMSAdminUser", "arn:aws:iam::111122223333:role/KMSAdminRole" ]}, "Action": [ "kms:Create*", "kms:Describe*", "kms:Enable*", "kms:List*", "kms:Put*", "kms:Update*", "kms:Revoke*", "kms:Disable*", "kms:Get*", "kms:Delete*", "kms:TagResource", "kms:UntagResource", "kms:ScheduleKeyDeletion", "kms:CancelKeyDeletion" ], "Resource": "*" }, { "Sid": "Allow use of the key", "Effect": "Allow", "Principal": {"AWS": [ "arn:aws:iam::111122223333:user/ExampleUser", "arn:aws:iam::111122223333:role/ExampleRole", "arn:aws:iam::444455556666:root" ]}, "Action": [ "kms:Encrypt", "kms:Decrypt", "kms:ReEncrypt*", "kms:GenerateDataKey*", "kms:DescribeKey" ], "Resource": "*" }, { "Sid": "Allow attachment of persistent resources", "Effect": "Allow", "Principal": {"AWS": [ "arn:aws:iam::111122223333:user/ExampleUser", "arn:aws:iam::111122223333:role/ExampleRole", "arn:aws:iam::444455556666:root" ]}, "Action": [ "kms:CreateGrant", "kms:ListGrants", "kms:RevokeGrant" ], "Resource": "*", "Condition": {"Bool": {"kms:GrantIsForAWSResource": "true"}} } ] }

The following image shows an example of what this key policy looks like when viewed with the console's default view for key policies.

        Key policy in the console's default view for key policies