Finite element simulation is an efficient method for studying factors affecting weld-induced residual stress distributions. In this paper, a validated three-dimensional finite element model consisting of sequentially coupled thermal and structural analyses was developed. Three possible symmetrical welding sequences, i.e. one-welder, two-welder and four-welder sequence, which were perceived to generate the least distortion in actual welding circumstances, were proposed and their influences on the residual stress fields in a thick-walled tee joint were investigated. Appropriate conclusions and recommendations regarding welding sequences are presented.