GitLab pull submodules inside CI

I have a GitLab project that utilises GitLab CI. The project also uses submodules, both the project and it's submodules are under the same GitLab account.

Here is my .gitmodules file

[submodule "proto_contracts"]
    path = proto_contracts
    url =

I also have this piece in the .gitlab-ci.yml file


However, when i run the CI I get this error

fatal: could not read Username for '': No such device or address

Both the project and the submodules are in a private repository so you would expect to be prompted for authentication, but as I've mentioned, the project and the submodule are under the same account and one of the runner's jobs is to clone the original repository

enter image description here

So it's odd that it's unable to reach the submodule Is there a way around it?


  • You must use relative URLs for submodules. Update your .gitmodules as follow:

        [submodule "proto_contracts"]
            path = proto_contracts
            url = ../../areller/proto_contracts.git

    Further reading: Using Git submodules with GitLab CI | GitLab Docs