How-To: Apply Open Policy Agent (OPA) policies

Use Dapr middleware to apply Open Policy Agent (OPA) policies on incoming requests

The Dapr Open Policy Agent (OPA) HTTP middleware allows applying OPA Policies to incoming Dapr HTTP requests. This can be used to apply reusable authorization policies to app endpoints.

Middleware component definition

kind: Component
  name: my-policy
  namespace: default
  type: middleware.http.opa
  version: v1
    # `includedHeaders` is a comma-seperated set of case-insensitive headers to include in the request input.
    # Request headers are not passed to the policy by default. Include to recieve incoming request headers in
    # the input
    - name: includedHeaders
      value: "x-my-custom-header, x-jwt-header"

    # `defaultStatus` is the status code to return for denied responses
    - name: defaultStatus
      value: 403

    # `rego` is the open policy agent policy to evaluate. required
    # The policy package must be http and the policy must set data.http.allow
    - name: rego
      value: |
        package http

        default allow = true

        # Allow may also be an object and include other properties

        # For example, if you wanted to redirect on a policy failure, you could set the status code to 301 and set the location header on the response:
        allow = {
            "status_code": 301,
            "additional_headers": {
                "location": ""
        } {
            not jwt.payload["my-claim"]

        # You can also allow the request and add additional headers to it:
        allow = {
            "allow": true,
            "additional_headers": {
                "x-my-claim": my_claim
        } {
            my_claim := jwt.payload["my-claim"]
        jwt = { "payload": payload } {
            auth_header := input.request.headers["authorization"]
            [_, jwt] := split(auth_header, " ")
            [_, payload, _] := io.jwt.decode(jwt)

You can prototype and experiment with policies using the official opa playground. For example, you can find the example policy above here.


This middleware supplies a HTTPRequest as input.


The HTTPRequest input contains all the revelant information about an incoming HTTP Request except it’s body.

type Input struct {
  request HTTPRequest

type HTTPRequest struct {
  // The request method (e.g. GET,POST,etc...)
  method string
  // The raw request path (e.g. "/v2/my-path/")
  path string
  // The path broken down into parts for easy consumption (e.g. ["v2", "my-path"])
  path_parts string[]
  // The raw query string (e.g. "?a=1&b=2")
  raw_query string
  // The query broken down into keys and their values
  query map[string][]string
  // The request headers
  // NOTE: By default, no headers are included. You must specify what headers
  // you want to recieve via `spec.metadata.includedHeaders` (see above)
  headers map[string]string
  // The request scheme (e.g. http, https)
  scheme string


The policy must set data.http.allow with either a boolean value, or an object value with an allow boolean property. A true allow will allow the request, while a false value will reject the request with the status specified by defaultStatus. The following policy, with defaults, demonstrates a 403 - Forbidden for all requests:

package http

default allow = false

which is the same as:

package http

default allow = {
  "allow": false

Changing the rejected response status code

When rejecting a request, you can override the status code the that gets returned. For example, if you wanted to return a 401 instead of a 403, you could do the following:

package http

default allow = {
  "allow": false,
  "status_code": 401

Adding response headers

To redirect, add headers and set the status_code to the returned result:

package http

default allow = {
  "allow": false,
  "status_code": 301,
  "additional_headers": {
    "Location": ""

Adding request headers

You can also set additional headers on the allowed request:

package http

default allow = false

allow = { "allow": true, "additional_headers": { "X-JWT-Payload": payload } } {
  not input.path[0] == "forbidden"
  // Where `jwt` is the result of another rule
  payload := base64.encode(json.marshal(jwt.payload))

Result structure

type Result bool
// or
type Result struct {
  // Whether to allow or deny the incoming request
  allow bool
  // Overrides denied response status code; Optional
  status_code int  
  // Sets headers on allowed request or denied response; Optional
  additional_headers map[string]string
Last modified January 30, 2021: Update (#1118) (10c2d21)