Three-dimensional finite element analyses of an elastic-plastic, single rivet-row, aluminum lap joint are presented and compared with previous results for linear elastic models. The calculations treat non-countersunk aluminum and steel rivets, 3 different configurations of countersunk rivets as well as two values of the friction coefficient. The compliance of the connection, rivet tilt, the stresses in the panels, peak plastic strains and the contact pressures and slip amplitudes at the rivet-panel and panel-panel interfaces are evaluated. The transverse, axial, and shear stress distributions and the stress concentrations generated in four different rivets are derived from the linear elastic models and related to the rivet geometry. Laboratory measurements of the lap joint compliance and local out-of-plane displacements that support the reliability of the finite element analyses are presented.