Most T lymphocytes are generated within the thymus. It is unclear, however, how newly generated T cells relocate out of the thymus to the circulation. The present study shows that a CC chemokine CCL19 attracts mature T cells out of the fetal thymus organ culture. Another CC chemokine CCL21, which shares CCR7 with CCL19 but has a unique C-terminal extension containing positively charged amino acids, failed to show involvement in thymic emigration. Neonatal appearance of circulating T cells was defective in CCL19-neutralized mice as well as in CCR7-deficient mice but not in CCL21-neutralized mice. In the thymus, CCL19 is predominantly localized in the medulla including endothelial venules. These results indicate a CCL19- and CCR7-dependent pathway of thymic emigration, which represents a major pathway of neonatal T cell export.