One of Mexico’s popular programs for seniors is the INAPAM discount card, that offers people aged 60 and over an opportunity to enjoy discounts on a range of services and products in Mexico, including long distance public transport.
The program has historically been open to Mexican nationals (and naturalized foreigners) as well as foreign residents holding temporary or permanent residency cards.
Recent patterns suggests a quiet change in policy
Readers living in Mexico have been writing in to tell us about a change in pattern they are experiencing when they attend INAPAM offices to apply for the card, describing how it’s becoming increasingly restrictive and difficult to obtain.
Reports about availability of cards for foreign residents vary by INAPAM office by state, but this is the pattern that has been emerging in recent times:
- Where previously temporary and permanent legal foreign residents were offered the INAPAM card, some offices began to restrict the card to permanent residents only.
- Some offices offered cards to temporary residents only if they could prove they owned a house in Mexico (that restricted card access to the many people who rent).
- In recent times, applications filed by foreign residents have not received a response or been processed, with staff at the offices citing administrative technicalities—such as the unavailability of special forms or cards.
- We have recently learned that INAPAM offices in at least two states have declared that foreign residents need to show their naturalization certificates to obtain the cards—effectively closing the program altogether to legal foreign residents.
One of our associates visited the INAPAM office in Mérida, where they were told that current delays in issuing cards to foreign residents were due to the unavailability of forms required for foreign resident applications. When pressed about whether the program was effectively closing to foreign residents, the staff replied that they had not received any official directive to that effect.
How to approach the situation
If you’re legally resident in Mexico and intend to apply for the INAPAM card, it’s worth keeping in mind that this change of pattern is taking place and you might not be able to get the discount card at this time.
- If you want to apply, we suggest that you visit your local INAPAM office and talk to the staff there about applying as a foreign resident.
- Some offices accept applications, but we know that in several places foreign residents have been waiting many months for their cards and have no indication when or if their cards will be issued to them.
- The office you attend might tell you that you need to show your naturalization certificate to apply. If this is the case, the program is closed to foreign residents at that office.
- Reports vary by state and INAPAM office. It might be that the state or municipality you apply at accepts your application and issues a card. The only way to know is to ask locally.
You can ONLY apply in the state where you live
All INAPAM offices ask for proof of your physical 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.
Visit and talk to a representative at your local INAPAM office for details.
Existing INAPAM card holders
The INAPAM card never expires, so for those foreign residents who already have cards, they continue to work as normal. Absent an official announcement about any of this, we do not know if in future foreign residents’ INAPAM cards will remain valid. If you lose or damage your existing card, it might be difficult or impossible to obtain a replacement at this time.
Future updates and readers’ experience
We will keep this article updated as new information becomes available.
If you have recently applied for an INAPAM card and would like to share your experience, please use the comments form below.
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
- A regular Mexico Newsletter you can subscribe to for free
In the region Jalisco in the town of Melaque they are saying that you need your original (not a copy) of your birth certificate to get the INAPAM card. Just another excuse to make it as difficult as possible
Just informed by the module in San Pedro Pochutla, Oaxaca, that they will not process Inapam applications for Permanent Residents until Naturalization has been achieved. They were also informing Mexican nationals that they would not receive their cards for six months. The office has also moved from the location shown on the internet.