I really wanted to automate redeploying an Elastic Beanstalk environment using a custom Docker image running on CircleCI. It actually took a little more work than I originally expected. Here’s the stuff that I couldn’t find anywhere else on the Internet that I eventually figured out thru trial and error.

You can read all about how to install the Elastic Beanstalk CLI in the AWS docs so I won’t repeat that here. What the docs don’t really cover is what sort of IAM permissions you’re going to need to use various commands provided by the CLI.

It really took a lot of trial and error to figure this out but I was finally able to run

eb deploy --verbose --nohang --version $APPLICATION_VERSION $EB_ENVIRONMENT

IAM Security Policy with Permissions to Deploy Elastic Beanstalk Version from CLI

Using an IAM user to which I attached a security policy with the following permissions:

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "*"
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": [

Replace the 111122223333 in the name of the S3 buckets with your own AWS account ID and us-east-1 with the region your Elastic Beanstalk application is in. You should be able to find this elastic-beanstalk- bucket by looking in S3.

You could probably down these permissions even further by figuring out exactly what autoscaling: permissions you need and restricting the resources a bit further but I didn’t have all day to do that so that is left as an exercise to the reader.

Elastic Beanstalk CLI Configuration File

If you try to run eb deploy for the first time it will complain and ask you to run eb init to interactively configure it first. Not a good thing when we’re trying to automate the whole process.

All this tool does is generate a file called .elasticbeanstalk/config.yml in your current directory and fill it with a bunch of properties.

Bonus tip: you don’t need to run eb init at all. You can create .elasticbeanstalk/config.yml yourself, and thru some trial and error I found you only need to put the following things in it:

  application_name: your-eb-application-name
  default_region: us-east-1

Change those as appropriate. You still need to pass credentials for your IAM user with the policy above, but as with other AWS CLI tools you can pass them by setting AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY.