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Permanent residency status is granted as a result of the Immigration Visa, a type of visa issued to approved immigrants. Typically an immigrant visa is valid for several months and must be used within this time or it will become invalid, requiring a new application for immigration. After you have an Immigrant Visa, you will be issued permanent residency once you arrive at the airport or land border and have the visa processed there. When you arrive at the airport or land border, the customs agents will refer you to an immigration officer who will verify the information on the immigrant visa, then sign and approve it.