Microscopic residual stress distribution on laser-irradiated materials was measured using a synchrotron radiation source. Intense laser pulses were irradiated in water to high tensile strength steel and austenitic stainless steel without any surface coating. Residual stress was measured in a laser-irradiated spot (0D), line (1D) and area (2D) on the materials in order to clarify the evolution process of residual stress. Tensile residual stresses were observed in the laser single pulse irradiated spot (0D). In the line (1D) and area (2D) irradiation, however, the tensile residual stress gradually changed into compressive side as the density of irradiated laser pulses increased. In case of laser irradiation in water, resulting residual stress is considered to be the sum of a tensile stress component by thermal effect and a compressive one by plastic deformation due to shock wave. The tensile stress component remains constant even if the laser pulse density increases, because the thermal effect may be reset every pulse, whereas the compressive stress component increases with laser pulse density, until the saturation of plastic deformation. As a result, the surface residual stress changes into compression with increasing the laser pulse density.