Axon guidance by commissural neurons has been well documented, providing us with a molecular logic of how midline crossing is achieved during development. Despite these advances, knowledge of the intrinsic genetic programs is still limited and it remains obscure whether the expression of a single transcription factor is sufficient to activate transcriptional programs that ultimately enable midline crossing. Here, we show in the mouse that the homeodomain transcription factor Dbx1 is expressed by a subset of progenitor cells that give rise to commissural neurons in the dorsal midbrain. Gain- and loss-of-function analyses indicate that the expression of Dbx1 alone is sufficient and necessary to trigger midline crossing in vivo. We also show that Robo3 controls midline crossing as a crucial downstream effector of the Dbx1-activated molecular programs. Furthermore, Dbx1 suppresses the expression of the transcriptional program for ipsilateral neuron differentiation in parallel. These results suggest that a single transcription factor, Dbx1, has an essential function in assigning midline-crossing identity, thereby contributing crucially to the establishment of the wiring laterality in the developing nervous system.