Required permissions for VM Import/Export - VM Import/Export
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Required permissions for VM Import/Export

VM Import/Export requires certain permissions for your users, groups, and roles. Additionally, a service role is required to perform certain operations on your behalf.

Required permissions

Your users, groups, and roles need the following permissions in their IAM policy to use VM Import/Export:


Some actions require the use of an Amazon S3 bucket. This example policy does not grant permission to create Amazon S3 buckets. The user or role will need to specify an existing bucket, or have permissions to create a new bucket ( s3:CreateBucket).

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "s3:GetBucketLocation", "s3:GetObject", "s3:PutObject" ], "Resource": ["arn:aws-cn:s3:::mys3bucket","arn:aws-cn:s3:::mys3bucket/*"] }, { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "ec2:CancelConversionTask", "ec2:CancelExportTask", "ec2:CreateImage", "ec2:CreateInstanceExportTask", "ec2:CreateTags", "ec2:DescribeConversionTasks", "ec2:DescribeExportTasks", "ec2:DescribeExportImageTasks", "ec2:DescribeImages", "ec2:DescribeInstanceStatus", "ec2:DescribeInstances", "ec2:DescribeSnapshots", "ec2:DescribeTags", "ec2:ExportImage", "ec2:ImportInstance", "ec2:ImportVolume", "ec2:StartInstances", "ec2:StopInstances", "ec2:TerminateInstances", "ec2:ImportImage", "ec2:ImportSnapshot", "ec2:DescribeImportImageTasks", "ec2:DescribeImportSnapshotTasks", "ec2:CancelImportTask" ], "Resource": "*" } ] }

Required service role

VM Import/Export requires a role to perform certain operations on your behalf. You must create a service role named vmimport with a trust relationship policy document that allows VM Import/Export to assume the role, and you must attach an IAM policy to the role. For more information, see IAM Roles in the IAM User Guide.


You must enable Amazon Security Token Service (Amazon STS) in any Region where you plan to use VM Import/Export. For more information, see Activating and deactivating Amazon STS in an Amazon Region.

To create the service role
  1. Create a file named trust-policy.json on your computer. Add the following policy to the file:

    { "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Principal": { "Service": "" }, "Action": "sts:AssumeRole", "Condition": { "StringEquals":{ "sts:Externalid": "vmimport" } } } ] }
  2. Use the create-role command to create a role named vmimport and grant VM Import/Export access to it. Ensure that you specify the full path to the location of the trust-policy.json file that you created in the previous step, and that you include the file:// prefix as shown the following example:

    aws iam create-role --role-name vmimport --assume-role-policy-document "file://C:\import\trust-policy.json"
  3. Create a file named role-policy.json with the following policy, where disk-image-file-bucket is the bucket for disk images and export-bucket is the bucket for exported images:

    { "Version":"2012-10-17", "Statement":[ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "s3:GetBucketLocation", "s3:GetObject", "s3:ListBucket" ], "Resource": [ "arn:aws-cn:s3:::disk-image-file-bucket", "arn:aws-cn:s3:::disk-image-file-bucket/*" ] }, { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "s3:GetBucketLocation", "s3:GetObject", "s3:ListBucket", "s3:PutObject", "s3:GetBucketAcl" ], "Resource": [ "arn:aws-cn:s3:::export-bucket", "arn:aws-cn:s3:::export-bucket/*" ] }, { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "ec2:ModifySnapshotAttribute", "ec2:CopySnapshot", "ec2:RegisterImage", "ec2:Describe*" ], "Resource": "*" } ] }
  4. (Optional) To import resources encrypted using an Amazon KMS key from Amazon Key Management Service, add the following permissions to the role-policy.json file.

    { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "kms:CreateGrant", "kms:Decrypt", "kms:DescribeKey", "kms:Encrypt", "kms:GenerateDataKey*", "kms:ReEncrypt*" ], "Resource": "*" }

    If you use a KMS key other than the default provided by Amazon EBS, you must grant VM Import/Export permission to the KMS key if you enable Amazon EBS encryption by default or enable encryption on an import operation. You can specify the Amazon Resource Name (ARN) of the KMS key as the resource instead of *.

  5. (Optional) To attach license configurations to an AMI, add the following License Manager permissions to the role-policy.json file.

    { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "license-manager:GetLicenseConfiguration", "license-manager:UpdateLicenseSpecificationsForResource", "license-manager:ListLicenseSpecificationsForResource" ], "Resource": "*" }
  6. Use the following put-role-policy command to attach the policy to the role created above. Ensure that you specify the full path to the location of the role-policy.json file.

    aws iam put-role-policy --role-name vmimport --policy-name vmimport --policy-document "file://C:\import\role-policy.json"
  7. For additional security controls, context keys such as aws:SourceAccount and aws:SourceArn can be added to the trust policy for this newly created role. VM Import/Export will publish the SourceAccount and SourceArn keys as specified in the example below to assume this role:

    { "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Principal": { "Service": "" }, "Action": "sts:AssumeRole", "Condition": { "StringEquals": { "sts:Externalid": "vmimport", "aws:SourceAccount": "111122223333" }, "ArnLike": { "aws:SourceArn": "arn:aws:vmie:*:111122223333:*" } } } ] }