What is the difference between JOIN and JOIN FETCH when using JPA and Hibernate

Please help me understand where to use a regular JOIN and where a JOIN FETCH. For example, if we have these two queries

FROM Employee emp
JOIN emp.department dep


FROM Employee emp
JOIN FETCH emp.department dep

Is there any difference between them? If yes, which one to use when?


  • In this two queries, you are using JOIN to query all employees that have at least one department associated.

    But, the difference is: in the first query you are returning only the Employes for the Hibernate. In the second query, you are returning the Employes and all Departments associated.

    So, if you use the second query, you will not need to do a new query to hit the database again to see the Departments of each Employee.

    You can use the second query when you are sure that you will need the Department of each Employee. If you not need the Department, use the first query.

    I recomend read this link if you need to apply some WHERE condition (what you probably will need): How to properly express JPQL "join fetch" with "where" clause as JPA 2 CriteriaQuery?


    If you don't use fetch and the Departments continue to be returned, it is because your mapping between Employee and Department (a @OneToMany) are setted with FetchType.EAGER. In this case, any HQL (with fetch or not) query with FROM Employee will bring all Departments. Remember that all mapping *ToOne (@ManyToOne and @OneToOne) are EAGER by default.