Azure Policy exemption structure

The Azure Policy exemptions feature is used to exempt a resource hierarchy or an individual resource from evaluation of initiatives or definitions. Resources that are exempt count toward overall compliance, but can't be evaluated or have a temporary waiver. For more information, see Understand scope in Azure Policy. Azure Policy exemptions only work with Resource Manager modes and don't work with Resource Provider modes.

You use JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) to create a policy exemption. The policy exemption contains elements for:

  • display name
  • description
  • metadata
  • policy assignment
  • policy definitions within an initiative
  • exemption category
  • expiration


A policy exemption is created as a child object on the resource hierarchy or the individual resource granted the exemption, so the target isn't included in the exemption definition.

For example, the following JSON shows a policy exemption in the waiver category of a resource to an initiative assignment named resourceShouldBeCompliantInit. The resource is exempt from only two of the policy definitions in the initiative, the customOrgPolicy custom policy definition (reference requiredTags) and the Allowed locations built-in policy definition (ID: e56962a6-4747-49cd-b67b-bf8b01975c4c, reference allowedLocations):

    "id": "/subscriptions/{subId}/resourceGroups/ExemptRG/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyExemptions/resourceIsNotApplicable",
    "name": "resourceIsNotApplicable",
    "type": "Microsoft.Authorization/policyExemptions",
    "properties": {
        "displayName": "This resource is scheduled for deletion",
        "description": "This resources is planned to be deleted by end of quarter and has been granted a waiver to the policy.",
        "metadata": {
            "requestedBy": "Storage team",
            "approvedBy": "IA",
            "approvedOn": "2020-07-26T08:02:32.0000000Z",
            "ticketRef": "4baf214c-8d54-4646-be3f-eb6ec7b9bc4f"
        "policyAssignmentId": "/subscriptions/{mySubscriptionID}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments/resourceShouldBeCompliantInit",
        "policyDefinitionReferenceIds": [
        "exemptionCategory": "waiver",
        "expiresOn": "2020-12-31T23:59:00.0000000Z"

Snippet of the related initiative with the matching policyDefinitionReferenceIds used by the policy exemption:

"policyDefinitions": [
        "policyDefinitionId": "/subscriptions/{mySubscriptionID}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyDefinitions/customOrgPolicy",
        "policyDefinitionReferenceId": "requiredTags",
        "parameters": {
            "reqTags": {
                "value": "[parameters('init_reqTags')]"
        "policyDefinitionId": "/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyDefinitions/e56962a6-4747-49cd-b67b-bf8b01975c4c",
        "policyDefinitionReferenceId": "allowedLocations",
        "parameters": {
            "listOfAllowedLocations": {
                "value": "[parameters('init_listOfAllowedLocations')]"

Display name and description

You use displayName and description to identify the policy exemption and provide context for its use with the specific resource. displayName has a maximum length of 128 characters and description a maximum length of 512 characters.


The metadata property allows creating any child property needed for storing relevant information. In the example above, properties requestedBy, approvedBy, approvedOn, and ticketRef contains customer values to provide information on who requested the exemption, who approved it and when, and an internal tracking ticket for the request. These metadata properties are examples, but they aren't required and metadata isn't limited to these child properties.

Policy assignment ID

This field must be the full path name of either a policy assignment or an initiative assignment. policyAssignmentId is a string and not an array. This property defines which assignment the parent resource hierarchy or individual resource is exempt from.

Policy definition IDs

If the policyAssignmentId is for an initiative assignment, the policyDefinitionReferenceIds property may be used to specify which policy definition(s) in the initiative the subject resource has an exemption to. As the resource may be exempted from one or more included policy definitions, this property is an array. The values must match the values in the initiative definition in the policyDefinitions.policyDefinitionReferenceId fields.

Exemption category

Two exemption categories exist and are used to group exemptions:

  • Mitigated: The exemption is granted because the policy intent is met through another method.
  • Waiver: The exemption is granted because the non-compliance state of the resource is temporarily accepted. Another reason to use this category is for a resource or resource hierarchy that should be excluded from one or more definitions in an initiative, but shouldn't be excluded from the entire initiative.


To set when a resource hierarchy or an individual resource is no longer exempt from an assignment, set the expiresOn property. This optional property must be in the Universal ISO 8601 DateTime format yyyy-MM-ddTHH:mm:ss.fffffffZ.


The policy exemptions isn't deleted when the expiresOn date is reached. The object is preserved for record-keeping, but the exemption is no longer honored.

Required permissions

The Azure RBAC permissions needed to manage Policy exemption objects are in the Microsoft.Authorization/policyExemptions operation group. The built-in roles Resource Policy Contributor and Security Admin both have the read and write permissions and Policy Insights Data Writer (Preview) has the read permission.

Exemptions have extra security measures because of the impact of granting an exemption. Beyond requiring the Microsoft.Authorization/policyExemptions/write operation on the resource hierarchy or individual resource, the creator of an exemption must have the exempt/Action verb on the target assignment.

Next steps