One of the most popular programs that senior citizens in Mexico enroll for is the discount card offered the INAPAM (Instituto Nacional para las Personas Adultas Mayores).
INAPAM Qualification and Foreign Residents
Recent contact from readers suggests that the INAPAM program might be closing to foreign residents. See this article for details.
How does it work?
The program is open to persons who are 60 years of age or older, and the card issued by the institution enables holders to enjoy worthwhile discounts on a wide range of goods and services including food, medicines, transport, clothing, as well as recreation and leisure activities.
Many firms and businesses actively advertise the fact that they offer discounts to INAPAM card holders, and even those who don’t advertise it might give a discount on goods and services you buy if you present your card to them.
Many organizations in Mexico are pleased to give seniors a discount, and this card is the means by which prove your legal residency and age qualification.
Using the card for discounts
Once enrolled you receive a plastic card that you can present at thousands of stores, businesses, and government service agencies across Mexico to claim discounts typically between 10% and 50% on goods and services you buy. Some local municipalities are also offering discounts on property taxes and water bills to senior citizens with this card.
Discounted services discounted using your INAPAM card
A wide range of stores and services offer discounts to seniors in Mexico who present their INAPAM card at the time of the purchase. Some advertise the discounts, although its always worth asking at the sales counter or checkout what discounts might be available.
Here are some examples of the most common services seniors can get discounts with using the card:
Healthcare services and medications
Most pharmacies give discounts on medications (medicines are already much less expensive in Mexico than the US, and these discounts are in addition to the lower prices Americans enjoy here), and some dentists and doctors and other medical specialists will also give seniors a discount when they present the card.
Bus companies, airlines, and some local taxi firms offer discounts on fares.
Food and groceries
Local food stores, convenience stores, and specialist food emporiums offer discounts on your grocery shopping, saving you more money on your basic living costs.
Leisure and travel services
Many hotels and travel agencies in Mexico offer discounts to senior citizens who present the card. If you plan a party or celebration, many of the festivity halls (salon de fiestas) offer a discount on rentals to seniors booking the facilities.
Eating out and take-away
Many cafés and diners, including the big-name national diner chains, offer discounts to INAPAM card holders whether you eat-in or take-away.
Many museums, archaeology parks, art galleries, and bookstores offer discounts to card holders.
Miscellaneous goods and services
A wide range of businesses offer seniors a discount when they present their card, for example: legal firms, art & craft stores, car service and repair centers, computer sales and repair stores, clothing and apparel stores, accountants, construction firms, hardware stores, florists, printers, locksmiths, jewelry stores, beauty salons, home DIY centers, stationers, plumbers, electricians, dry cleaners, veterinary services, etc.
Discount on property taxes and water bills
Some local municipalities are offering seniors a discount on their annual property taxes (Predial) and their water bills. Discounts, where offered, vary by municipality—check locally for details in your area.
How to apply for the INAPAM discount card
The INAPAM card is available to all seniors who are 60 years or older who are Mexican or legal foreign residents of Mexico. It’s simple and free to apply for the card.
You must apply in the area where you live
All offices ask for proof of address and you can only apply in the locality where your address is located, so you can’t attend an office out of your area to apply.
There are four requirements which need to be met:
- you will need to present some official identification that also proves your age, like a passport or driver’s license, or your birth certificate; and
- as a foreign resident, you will also need to present Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente residency permit (or the former FM3/FM2 if you still have this version); and
- you will also be asked for a utility bill or some other official document that shows your current address in Mexico. Most people use their telephone or electricity bill; this must be recent—dated within the last 2-3 months; and
- you’ll need to take along two photographs of yourself taken in the last month in the same size and format as those required for a passport or immigration permit: “infantil” size, front-facing, no glasses, no hats, and printed on professional photographic paper (self-printed photos are not accepted).
You take these documents (as well as 2 photocopies of each) along with your photographs to your local government office dealing with INAPAM applications (check locally where you live) and, when the application is completed, you will be presented with a card that you can use to obtain the discounts.
Spanish: The forms must completed in Spanish and the interviews at the local INAPAM offices are conducted in Spanish only.
Legal residency in Mexico: If you need information about residency permits for retirees in Mexico, read our article about the principal routes to residency.
Making retirement plans? See our extensive articles and guides to retirement in Mexico.
Assistance with your INAPAM application
Helpline: The government also staffs a toll-free helpline that is open from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays to answer questions you may have. The call is free from inside Mexico, dial 800 007 3705. (Spanish only.)
Website: You can find additional information online about the program and the application process on the INAPAM web site. The web page is in Spanish, and you can use the Google page translation feature if you need to. (Or ask a friend to help.)
Cost of living in Mexico
With the INAPAM card, seniors retired in Mexico can enjoy additional discounts from defined product and service providers, and thus help to make their retirement incomes stretch further.
Calculate your living costs: To calculate how much it will cost you to live in Mexico, read our Mexico Cost of Living Guide.
Practical help with residency applications in Mexico
Download our free eBook about Mexico Immigration for detailed guide to applying for and obtaining a residency visa in Mexico.
Get practical help with your residency application using our Mexico Immigration Assistance service.
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Most museums offer huge discounts or are even free for seniors! This card is very useful but the places that accept it change frequently. The huge discounts for bus travel WITHIN Mexico are fabulous!
Just been issued with my INAPAM card this morning at a big ceremony at Lake Chapala Society. All the Government representiatives were there for INAPAM and INM.
The very clear message we were given is that Mexico is an inclusive society and welcomes all foreign residents to make full use of the INAPAM discounts available. Mexico welcomes all the help that foreign residents provide in boosting the economy and thanks us all for the charitable work done in Mexico.
I moved to Puerto Vallarta and have Permanent Resident Status (just waiting to pick up my card now that I have competed and finalized the process).
ONE of the reasons I moved here is that I am on a fixed income and the cost of living here, even though not super cheap makes it a lot easier for me to live here somewhat comfortable (ask me again in the Summer when I can’t afford to use Air Conditioning) and being disabled I can afford to pay someone to clean for me.
I use the card for travel between cities by bus. I love travelling Mexico that way and for example go to Guadalajara 5 hrs or Colima or Mexico 12 hrs. I stay in hotels in these cities for 2 to 7 days which is in addition to my regular rental.I would not normally be doing this if I was paying full fare for example to Mexico DF (2000 pesos ret). i love the card
Elly, I don’t necessarily think that our economy is sustained only by Americans, though I think you’re right when you say that a lot of them (or any other foreigners) have worked here or helped different organizations and they deserve to get this “special” treatment just as a native person.
That’s why I think Gayle might be a little wrong because the time has come for seniors to be taken care of by us; it is an aid given by the government and I see no problem in using it even if you’re not a native.
Gayle, just so you know, there are Americans living in Mexico on a very fixed income. Not all Americans are wealthy. I know of several living on a meager social security check and, while more than some in Mexico (not all), this helps folks get by. Also, I know of many well heeled Americans in the states who use their senior discounts whenever they can.
I think this is a great program for Mexican seniors and I support it 100%. However, I don’t support this program for American ex-pats living in Mexico. I have many friends who have these cards who don’t need to use them because they can afford the lifestyle here in Mexico without them. They are for the truly destitute of which there are almost zero Americans. I wish this article had stated something like that. There is a big difference between Mexican seniors who have so little income (less than $2,000 pesos per month) and American seniors who can afford to fly here, rent condos, and enjoy eating out. Please don’t advertise this to Americans…why do we have to always be takers and users of a system that wasn’t set up for us.
Hi Gayle, thanks for your comments. The INAPAM discount card is used widely by Mexican seniors and is only available to foreign residents – some of whom will have spent many years of their working lives in Mexico. The program is voluntary and those who don’t wish to participate don’t have to. The discounts are given by the companies/firms which offer services in the same way that a loyalty card offers discounts to regular customers, and the card acts as a formal means to qualify your eligibility (i.e. age, and in the case of being a non-Mexican your resident status).
Gayle where do you receive your income stats from concerning Americans living here who are permanent residents ? Maybe you can share with me how many billions of dollars the American tax payers have given to Mexico for so many years and continue to do so. Not only in dollars, but in every form of aid you can imagine. Even now for the last 2 years there is no border and the American tax payers are forced to pay for a deluge of illegal aliens from Mexico. Interesting you say American takers and users which I find offensive. What about Canadians or Chinese ? I say as an American I have paid my dues to apply for and use this benefit in Mexico.. There are so many non profit ngos that have helped and continue to do so in Mexico for years. If the corruption in Mexico wasn’t so far and wide the Mexican government could do so much more for Mexican citizens than offer a discount card. I live on a fixed income and appreciate that I can live in Mexico and be comfortable which isn’t possible for me in the states. If you and your friends don’t need it don’t apply for or use this wonderful benefit or go back to the states. This is not meant solely for the truly destitute. My wife is a Mexican national and a retired doctor. She paid her taxes for 35 years , her social security in Mexico is ridiculous. Americans who support the economy continue to contribute to the country in a very strong positive way.