The size of plastic deformation zone during fastener hole strengthening is a critical indicator of the strengthening effect. In this study, a considerable plastic deformation zone in 1.5 mm aluminum alloy plate with a hole was produced via electromagnetic strengthening. The finite element analysis results showed that the electromagnetic strengthening process could achieve high compressive hoop residual stress around the fastener hole in thin plate without serious axial deformation compared with conventional cold hole expansion process. The simulation results were experimentally validated by the grid method. Furthermore, for the same discharge energy, the size of plastic deformation zone varies with the discharge capacitance, and there was an optimal combination of the discharge capacitance and discharge voltage. What’s more, even the plastic deformation zone was the same at the maxed load, different unloading process during the electromagnetic hole expansion process also had a great influence on the strengthening effect.