Is there a way to use the get_users() function, or maybe another way, to retrieve all users of a custom user capability?

For example, I have given a select number of users the capability of 'team_member', which allows a user to access areas non team members cannot.

Due to the nature of the site, simply creating a new role is not an option. I'm also not able to just add the capability to an already registered role.

I assumed there would be a way to do this using get_users, but there doesn't seem to be. Unless I'm wrong?

$args = array(

    'role' => 'team_member'


get_users( $args );

If there isn't a way to get users from custom cap, my next idea is to not use custom capabilities but instead insert the same key in a user's usermeta. This will then at least allow me to include a meta_query in the get_user $args.

1 Answer 1


I gave it a test run. First, I added a custom capability to a specific user, using following code

$user = new WP_User( $user_id );
$user->add_cap( 'team_member' );

Luckily, this user can be retrieved using below code, as you suggested

$args = array(
    'role' => 'team_member'

get_users( $args );

Which implicitly work like below

$args = array (
    'meta_query' => array(
            'key'     => 'wp_capabilities',
            'value'   => '%team_member%',
            'compare' => 'LIKE'

$wp_user_query = new WP_User_Query( $args );

Reference: WP_User_Query

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