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).
How does it work?
The program is open to all Mexicans and legal foreign residents* 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.
*Who qualifies for the INAPAM card?
Mexicans (including naturalized Mexicans) and legal foreign residents can apply. However, some INAPAM offices only accept foreign residents with Residente Permanente status, and others only accept foreign residents with Residente Temporal status if they can prove they own property here. Some offices accept Residente Temporal without the need to show property title.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Basic living costs in Mexico are already lower than those in the US, Canada and Europe. With the INAPAM card, seniors can enjoy additional discounts, 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, connect to 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.
Resources for Living & Lifestyle in Mexico
Mexperience offers you a comprehensive online resource of information and local knowledge to help you discover Mexico, explore choices, find opportunities and plan a new life in Mexico. Our resources include:
- Articles to help you plan your lifestyle in Mexico
- Articles and practical tips for settling-in and living well in Mexico
- An extensive library of free Mexico eBooks you can download
- A regular Mexico Newsletter you can subscribe to for free
Mexico in your inbox
Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.