O-glycosylation of the nuclear pore complex (NPC) by O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is conserved within metazoans. Many nucleoporins (Nups) comprising the NPC are constitutively O-GlcNAcylated, but the functional role of this modification remains enigmatic. We show that loss of O-GlcNAc, induced by either inhibition of O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) or deletion of the gene encoding OGT, leads to decreased cellular levels of a number of natively O-GlcNAcylated Nups. Loss of O-GlcNAc enables increased ubiquitination of these Nups and their increased proteasomal degradation. The decreased half-life of these deglycosylated Nups manifests in their gradual loss from the NPC and a downstream malfunction of the nuclear pore selective permeability barrier in both dividing and post-mitotic cells. These findings define a critical role of O-GlcNAc modification of the NPC in maintaining its composition and the function of the selectivity filter. The results implicate NPC glycosylation as a regulator of NPC function and reveal the role of conserved glycosylation of the NPC among metazoans.