Fluorescence photobleaching recovery (FPR) measurements of virus glycoproteins on the surfaces of cells infected with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and Sindbis virus showed that the VSV glycoprotein (G) remained mobile throughout the infectious cycle, whereas Sindbis virus glycoproteins (E1, E2) were partially mobile early after infection and immobile at later times when greater amounts of these proteins were on the cell surface. A highly mobile fraction of Sindbis virus glycoproteins was detected throughout the replication cycle of a temperature-sensitive mutant unable to form virus particles. This immobilization of E1 and E2 was the result of increasing surface glycoprotein concentrations and virus budding. Together with other data, which included the detection of E1 and E2 in particles as soon as these proteins were transported to the cell surface, the FPR results suggest that Sindbis virus assembly initiates on intracellular vesicles, where glycoproteins aggregate and bind nucleocapsids. In contrast, our FPR data on VSV support a model previously suggested by others, in which a small fraction of cell-surface G is immobilized into budding sites formed by interactions with virus matrix and nucleoproteins. FPR measurements also provide direct evidence for strong interactions between E1 and E2, as well as between E1 and PE2, the precursor form of E2.