When any of the authentication providers (see Authentication Providers) has verified the still-unauthenticated token, an authenticated token will be returned. The authentication listener should set this token directly in the Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authentication\Token\Storage\TokenStorageInterface using its setToken() method.

From then on, the user is authenticated, i.e. identified. Now, other parts of the application can use the token to decide whether or not the user may request a certain URI, or modify a certain object. This decision will be made by an instance of Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\AccessDecisionManagerInterface.

An authorization decision will always be based on a few things:

  • The current token
    For instance, the token’s getRoles() method may be used to retrieve the roles of the current user (e.g. ROLE_SUPER_ADMIN), or a decision may be based on the class of the token.
  • A set of attributes
    Each attribute stands for a certain right the user should have, e.g. ROLE_ADMIN to make sure the user is an administrator.
  • An object (optional)
    Any object for which access control needs to be checked, like an article or a comment object.

Access Decision Manager

Since deciding whether or not a user is authorized to perform a certain action can be a complicated process, the standard Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\AccessDecisionManager itself depends on multiple voters, and makes a final verdict based on all the votes (either positive, negative or neutral) it has received. It recognizes several strategies:

affirmative (default)
grant access as soon as there is one voter granting access;
grant access if there are more voters granting access than there are denying;
only grant access if none of the voters has denied access. If all voters abstained from voting, the decision is based on the allow_if_all_abstain config option (which defaults to false).

Usage of the available options in detail:

use Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\AccessDecisionManager;

// instances of Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\Voter\VoterInterface
$voters = [...];

// one of "affirmative", "consensus", "unanimous"
$strategy = ...;

// whether or not to grant access when all voters abstain
$allowIfAllAbstainDecisions = ...;

// whether or not to grant access when there is no majority (applies only to the "consensus" strategy)
$allowIfEqualGrantedDeniedDecisions = ...;

$accessDecisionManager = new AccessDecisionManager(

See also

You can change the default strategy in the configuration.


Voters are instances of Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\Voter\VoterInterface, which means they have to implement a few methods which allows the decision manager to use them:

vote(TokenInterface $token, $object, array $attributes)
this method will do the actual voting and return a value equal to one of the class constants of Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\Voter\VoterInterface, i.e. VoterInterface::ACCESS_GRANTED, VoterInterface::ACCESS_DENIED or VoterInterface::ACCESS_ABSTAIN;

The Security component contains some standard voters which cover many use cases:


The Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\Voter\AuthenticatedVoter voter supports the attributes IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY, IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED, and IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY and grants access based on the current level of authentication, i.e. is the user fully authenticated, or only based on a “remember-me” cookie, or even authenticated anonymously?:

use Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authentication\AuthenticationTrustResolver;

$trustResolver = new AuthenticationTrustResolver();

$authenticatedVoter = new AuthenticatedVoter($trustResolver);

// instance of Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authentication\Token\TokenInterface
$token = ...;

// any object
$object = ...;

$vote = $authenticatedVoter->vote($token, $object, ['IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY']);


The Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\Voter\RoleVoter supports attributes starting with ROLE_ and grants access to the user when at least one required ROLE_* attribute can be found in the array of roles returned by the token’s getRoles() method:

use Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\Voter\RoleVoter;

$roleVoter = new RoleVoter('ROLE_');

$roleVoter->vote($token, $object, ['ROLE_ADMIN']);


The Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\Voter\RoleHierarchyVoter extends Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\Voter\RoleVoter and provides some additional functionality: it knows how to handle a hierarchy of roles. For instance, a ROLE_SUPER_ADMIN role may have sub-roles ROLE_ADMIN and ROLE_USER, so that when a certain object requires the user to have the ROLE_ADMIN role, it grants access to users who in fact have the ROLE_ADMIN role, but also to users having the ROLE_SUPER_ADMIN role:

use Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\Voter\RoleHierarchyVoter;
use Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Role\RoleHierarchy;

$hierarchy = [

$roleHierarchy = new RoleHierarchy($hierarchy);

$roleHierarchyVoter = new RoleHierarchyVoter($roleHierarchy);


The Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\Voter\ExpressionVoter grants access based on the evaluation of expressions created with the ExpressionLanguage component. These expressions have access to a number of special security variables:

use Symfony\Component\ExpressionLanguage\Expression;
use Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\Voter\ExpressionVoter;

// Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\ExpressionLanguage;
$expressionLanguage = ...;

// instance of Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authentication\AuthenticationTrustResolverInterface
$trustResolver = ...;

// Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\AuthorizationCheckerInterface
$authorizationChecker = ...;

$expressionVoter = new ExpressionVoter($expressionLanguage, $trustResolver, $authorizationChecker);

// instance of Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authentication\Token\TokenInterface
$token = ...;

// any object
$object = ...;

$expression = new Expression(
    '"ROLE_ADMIN" in roles or (not is_anonymous() and user.isSuperAdmin())'

$vote = $expressionVoter->vote($token, $object, [$expression]);


When you make your own voter, you can use its constructor to inject any dependencies it needs to come to a decision.


Roles are strings that give expression to a certain right the user has (e.g. “edit a blog post”, “create an invoice”). You can freely choose those strings. The only requirement is that they must start with the ROLE_ prefix (e.g. ROLE_POST_EDIT, ROLE_INVOICE_CREATE).

Using the Decision Manager

The Access Listener

The access decision manager can be used at any point in a request to decide whether or not the current user is entitled to access a given resource. One optional, but useful, method for restricting access based on a URL pattern is the Symfony\Component\Security\Http\Firewall\AccessListener, which is one of the firewall listeners (see Firewall Listeners) that is triggered for each request matching the firewall map (see A Firewall for HTTP Requests).

It uses an access map (which should be an instance of Symfony\Component\Security\Http\AccessMapInterface) which contains request matchers and a corresponding set of attributes that are required for the current user to get access to the application:

use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\RequestMatcher;
use Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authentication\Token\Storage\TokenStorage;
use Symfony\Component\Security\Http\AccessMap;
use Symfony\Component\Security\Http\Firewall\AccessListener;

$accessMap = new AccessMap();
$tokenStorage = new TokenStorage();
$requestMatcher = new RequestMatcher('^/admin');
$accessMap->add($requestMatcher, ['ROLE_ADMIN']);

$accessListener = new AccessListener(

Authorization Checker

The access decision manager is also available to other parts of the application via the isGranted() method of the Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\AuthorizationChecker. A call to this method will directly delegate the question to the access decision manager:

use Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Authorization\AuthorizationChecker;
use Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Exception\AccessDeniedException;

$authorizationChecker = new AuthorizationChecker(

if (!$authorizationChecker->isGranted('ROLE_ADMIN')) {
    throw new AccessDeniedException();

This work, including the code samples, is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.