In this article, we present a new numerical method for solving the steady Oseen equations in an unbounded plane domain. The technique consists in coupling the boundary integral and the finite element methods. An artificial smooth boundary is introduced separating an interior inhomogeneous region from an exterior homogeneous one. The solution in exterior region is represented by an integral equation over the artificial boundary. This integral equation is incorporated into a velocity-pressure formulation for the interior region, and a finite element method is used to approximate the resulting variational problem. Finally, the optimal error estimates of the numerical solution are derived. Computer results will be discussed in a forthcoming paper.