A three-dimensional thermo-mechanical coupled model of hot leveling and cooling processes of the steel plate has been conducted with MSC.Superform software. Four kinds of initial temperature distribution patterns have been determined according to literature. The effects of hot leveling and cooling processes on the transversal and longitudinal residual stresses of the steel plate have been analyzed. The results show that the initial temperature distribution patterns have significant influence on the residual stress of the plate. The more uniform temperature distribution patterns along the width of the plate, the smaller residual stress and also the smaller stress fluctuations. The cooling process has greater effect on the residual stress compared with the hot leveling process. The bigger the temperature gradient along the width of steel plate, the larger the residual stress and its fluctuation is. Through the FEM study, the value and direction of transversal and longitudinal residual stresses can be confirmed quantitatively at various positions along the width and length of plate, which can provide guidance to actual measurement of residual stress.