For context, GPG key pairs are necessary for password managers such as pass. Migrating computers requires migrating the GPG key pairs or else pass will be unable to load or create passwords. Migrating GPG pairs requires exporting them in the original computer and exporting them in the target computer. That is what this tutorial shows.

How to export GPG key pairs

Export the private key

Export an existing private key. Make sure to use the --armor flag if the private key will be printed in the future as a backup.

gpg --export-secret-keys --armor <key-name|key-email> > <private-key-file>

Export a public key

A public key can be created now or later on. What matters is the private key, which can generate more public keys. To create the key now:

gpg --export --armor <key-name|key-email> > <public-key-file>

How to import the GPG key pair

Import the private key

You will be asked for the password.

gpg --import <private-key-file>

Export a public key if this has not been done

Generate a public key from the exported private key. Redirect the output into a file.

gpg --export --armor <key-name|key-email> > <publick-key-file>

Import the public key and change the trust level

Import the key and edit it by changing the trust level from unknown to ultimate.

gpg --import <public-key-file>
gpg --edit-key <name or email>

Scripts for exporting and importing key pairs

Use the following scripts to export and import key pairs like so:

# An email like is also  valid.
./ "John Doe"
./ "John Doe"

Inspect the code briefly — do not trust internet scripts blindly.