INAPAM Mexico’s Senior Discount Program
A senior’s rite of passage in Mexico
You may have heard about this discount card if you’ve ever spent a winter in Mexico. The name is strange and is often cloaked in mystery about where and how to obtain it. Well, wonder no more! Here is everything you want to know about the INAPAM discount card but were afraid to ask*. Just recently, a friend and I applied for ours.
What is INAPAM?
INAPAM stands for “Instituto Nacional de las Personas Adultas Mayores”. In other words, The National Institute of Older Adult People. It is a federal discount program provided by the government of Mexico. The program has many benefits you can access once you reach the ripe old age of 60, which here is referred to as “tercer edad” (the third age). Assumably, “first” age is childhood and the “second”, adulthood. I imagine it’s simply a lot nicer term than saying “old people”!
Applying for the discount card is easy but can involve some waiting in line. Remember that “patience” thing you were supposed to bring with you when you came here? Well, it may come in handy while going through this process.
As a foreigner, you are allowed to apply if you hold a “temporal” or “permanente” visa. These are visas that allow you to actually reside in Mexico full time. Tourist visa holders DO NOT qualify. Of course, the second qualifier is that you have to be at least 60 years old!
What Paperwork will you need to apply for INAPAM?
For everything listed here (except for the photos, of course) you will need to bring TWO black and white copies.
- A bill showing your current address (TelMex, CFE, etc.)
- Your temporal or permanente Mexico visa
- CURP Certificate (see below for some details if you don’t have this)
- Two recent “infantil” sized photos (no hat or glasses). Black and white are fine.
- You will also need the name and phone number of a family member or friend that lives here.
CURP – This is the equivalent of the Social Security or Social Insurance number. It can be found on the front of your Mexican visa card. Go to a “COPIAS” place that lists this name in their window as a service. Not all “copias” places have it. Here they will print out a large certificate for you. Get ONE in color (and hang on to it for any future needs) and then get TWO black and white copies for the INAPAM application.
I hope you are early risers because they usually want you there when they open, which is 8 am. My friend, John and I got there at 7:50 am and they let us in right away.
When you arrive, someone at the first desk will check to make sure you have the correct paperwork. If you do, you will be given the paperwork back in a particular order along with a number and then you take a seat and wait… and wait… and wait… Until finally they call your number. Make sure you know your numbers in Spanish, no English here!
After they call your number they will send you to another room where someone will go through your paperwork again and begin the slow and painful process of writing everything into an application form by hand. If you’re lucky, this person will speak some English.
Our fellow in Mazatlan, Omar, was very charming and spoke enough English that we understood him clearly. When responding, keep in mind to slow down your speech so that they too can understand you better.
After Omar (in our case) has checked all the paperwork and filled out the form, you are then directed to a second person who will type out your card… yes, on a typewriter! They will attach one of the photos to it and take your fingerprint. You will also have to sign the INAPAM discount card. And then, you’re done!!
There are many benefits to having this discount card and new ones are being added all the time. Below you will find an explanation of the tabs on the INAPAM website that lists the benefits of the program. The two most popular ones to the ex-pat community are the transportation and medication discounts.
This is the INAPAM site that lists the benefits of the program:
On the main page, you will find lists of the discounts available with your INAPAM card. Click on the corresponding tab to get a full PDF list of benefits. The tabs are explained below. Searching by the name of your state is helpful.
> These are state-run food programs. Currently, there are none listed for Sinaloa.
Asesorías, servicios administrativos, legales y atención al público (Advice, administrative services, legal and customer service)
> Mostly a list of funeral homes and other miscellaneous services.
Educación, recreación, cultura y deporte (Education, recreation, culture and sport)
> A list of hotels and paper stores that offer discounts or preferred rates.
Salud (health) – This one is the handiest!
> A list of medical professionals, pharmacies and clinics that offer discounts.
Transporte (transport) – also very popular!
> This is a list of all the transportation companies that offer discounts. Noteworthy are…
> Aeromexico with a 15% discount
> ETN bus line with a 50% discount (there is more than just this one line, just ask)
> Hertz Rentals in Mexico City offers a 15% discount
Vestido y hogar (dress & home)
> Small electronics stores, clothing, fumigation, etc.
Other benefits include access to “clubes INAPAM” (INAPAM clubs). These are community spaces where people of “tercer edad” meet and interact. Various training and human development programs are offered, of educational, cultural, sports and social nature. They can be found all around Mazatlan. One is located in Centro on Constitucion. So, if your Spanish is even slightly good, this could be a great way to interact with your Mexican neighbors.
Your INAPAM discount card has NO EXPIRY date and if you lose it, you’ll have to start the process all over again. So here’s a tip: after you get your card, go directly to a place that does “copias” and have them take a color copy of it. Get both cards laminated. Keep the copy in your purse/wallet and the original in a safe place. The only time you will need to produce the original is when purchasing any transportation-related services. Everyone else will accept the copy.
In Mazatlan, you can apply for the INAPAM card at the D.I.F. office:
C. Constitución 1029, between Rosales and Carvajal, Col. Centro, Mazatlán, Sinaloa.
Open 8am – 2pm (but you must arrive early in the morning)
None of the airline websites that I have looked at mention Inapam discounts.
i believe you have to have your passport stamped at the mexican coI,v tried the san francisco consul a dozen times but the phone is never answered.Iam trying to get temporary residence.nsul before you leave the U.S. and you havev to apply in mex. within 30 days Iwould like to get temporary residence.
Hola Ana, I very much enjoyed your step-by-step explanation of how to get an INAPAM card in February’s M! You’ve made it so easy for anyone who’s interested. The process hasn’t changed that much since I wrote a piece on the same topic years ago when Janet Blaser was at the helm of M! Do they still take a maximum of 30 applicants per day? I’m sure you know every long distance bus line in Mexico accepts the card. My husband and I have used it so many times in our Mexico travels that I’ve lost count. I didn’t know Aeromexico offers a discount…so thank you for that tip. I also find it interesting that — although the INAPAM name is already years old — the majority of Mexicans still refer to the program by the old INSEN acronym. Muchas gracias!!
Hi Nancy..I don’t know if they limit intake any more. I think it’s first come, first served. Thanks for your kind words…