A 3D thermo-mechanical coupled model of hot leveling and cooling process of steel plate with nine rolls has been conducted with the aid of commercial non-linear FEM software. The effects of four hot leveling deformation rates on the transversal and longitudinal residual stresses of steel plate in the condition of same initial temperature distribution pattern has been analyzed. Different plastic deformation rates are obtained through the reduction change of No.2 leveler. The transversal and longitudinal residual stress distributions at different parts of steel plate are also studied. The results show that the transversal and longitudinal residual stresses increase with plastic deformation rates through hot leveling and cooling. The residual stress distribution patterns at various positions of the steel plate in the conditions of different plastic deformation rates can be confirmed quantitatively, which can provide guidance to practical determination of hot leveling plastic deformation rates.