Exit restrictions are viewed with suspicion in the literature related to migration, citizenship, and human rights. The international human rights project is devoted to defending the minimal proposition that a person should be able to leave their own country, with few exceptions. Public health emergencies constitute one of the few limits on this mobility right in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Here, I offer a limited legal and normative defence of pandemic travel restrictions, with a focus on Australia’s COVID-19 exit control measures. I argue that public health emergency exit controls do not constitute a violation of a traveller’s mobility rights, so long as they are temporary, narrowly tailored, and proportionate to the health risk posed by the traveller in question. They should be lifted when alternative measures become widely available, such as vaccination and testing requirements.