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My INAPAM card -- finally got it!


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After months of checking at the Chapala DIF office weekly and then monthly for the arrival of the INAPAM cards, we were finally told that they just didn't expect to get them any more and we should go to Guad to apply. So three of us left at 7 AM yesterday to get there when they opened at 8. We parked in a convenient lot on Alcalde just a block before the Palacio Federal, walked around to the INAPAM office on the Calle Hospital (north) side of the building (noticing no empty parking spots on any street,) and walked up to the sliding gate of bars. Eventually the "ficha facilitator" appeared at the podium on the other side, a dapper guy dressed in a brown suit and tie, and gave the three of us in succession numbers 30, 37, and 38...not our place to ask why. We were let inside as there were three open chairs, otherwise you have to stand outside and wait for an opening. We were there right after they opened the doors and some very elderly folks, apparently 35 before us, were already waiting, having arrived hours before they opened to stand in line.

He handed us a one page application form which is only in Spanish as asks a lot of personal questions as to your disabilities and needs, so best to have a Spanish speaker with you...don't count on anyone there to speak English. Two of the three of us know Spanish, so no problem. During the whole morning we were the only gringos there. There were two employees cranking out the cards but the numbers were advancing only about 7 per hour...we thought we'd be there 4-5 hours! Then a young techie guy showed up...one of the laptop screens had quit and he couldn't fix it. Then another young techie type showed up with his own iPad, hooked it up to the failing computer as a screen, and he started processing cards. The older lady employee then shifted over to the corner where they keep an old electronic typewriter for just such occasions and made cards out manually, so then with four working, it moved swiftly and they got to our numbers by 11:00. I heard no English spoken by any of them, so I waited for my friend and translated.

You will need: one form of official picture ID with your birth date (your residente temporal or permanente is preferred) and the very important fresh utility bill to prove your address plus two face front infantil size pictures without glasses. If your CURP isn't on your immigration card, then you need that card too. Have one B&W copy of each document (both sides of the cards) for them too. If you get a station with a computer, then they take a picture and do an electronic fingerprint, everything is digitized on a laminated card. If you get the lady with the typewriter, it's the old style paper card with one of your pics glued on to it, rubber stamped, and an inky digit. She tells you to go get it laminated at a papeleria in the same breath she's calling the next number.

Don't wait to arrive too late as they close the doors at 11:00 and then work til 2 processing the people who made it inside.

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Thanks so much for posting your experience about obtaining an INAPAM card.

Did any of you have a Residente Temporal visa? I only ask because last fall 3 of us went to Guadalajara to get our INAPAM cards. Two of us had Residente Temporal visas and one person had a Residente Permanente. The gentleman at the office who was letting people into the building said that only Residente Permanente visa holders could get an INAPAM card. He even went and checked with the folks behind the desk inside. We had a Spanish speaker with us who was Mexican so there was no problem with communication.

It would be great if the Guadalajara office is now allowing Residente Temporal visa holders to get the INAPAM card. If they are, I will be making another trip into Guadalajara as soon as I can.

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Two of us had permanente and the other was a Mexican citizen so I did not actually observe any temporal folks getting theirs. Like many things here, that office has apparently decided to disallow temporals since was your experience. Many previous FM3 and now. R.T. card holders have obtained their cards in Chapala or Jocotepec in the past, so that rule is obviously not universally applied. You can certainly get a DIF card on an R.T. Local facilitators have helped people get the INAPAM in Joco as they seem to get a supply of cards whereas Chapala is routinely shut out, so I guess that would be your only way to go at present.

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There are many valuable discounts available using the INAPAM card: all museum entrance fees are waived, for example. Some grocery stores and most pharmacies give a discount. Discounts to events at theaters--including the Teatro Degollado and the Teatro Diana in Guadalajara--are 50% if you buy your tickets at the box office--not at a Ticketmaster outlet or through Ticketmaster online, only at the box office. The Metro in Mexico City is free, you just show your card to the policeman at the entrance turnstile. And all bus tickets (local and long distance) are discounted 50%. That one benefit alone has saved me many thousand pesos over the years that I have had the INAPAM card.

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There are many valuable discounts available using the INAPAM card: all museum entrance fees are waived, for example. Some grocery stores and most pharmacies give a discount. Discounts to events at theaters--including the Teatro Degollado and the Teatro Diana in Guadalajara--are discounted 50% if you buy your tickets at the box office--not at a Ticketmaster outlet or through Ticketmaster online, only at the box office. The Metro in Mexico City is free, you just show your card to the policeman at the entrance turnstile. And all bus tickets (local and long distance) are discounted 50%. That one benefit alone has saved me many thousand pesos over the years that I have had the INAPAM card.

I think that the Teatro degollado has changed its discount to 30,which is still a good deal and of course the available number are limited

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I received my card just two weeks ago in Guadalajara. All those in my group (5) had temporada status and no one challenged that.

A woman who greeted everyone initially was a bit abrasive and seemed to resent that we were foreigners but everyone else was fine. We spoke the best Spanish that we could (rate that very poor) and the employees taking our information and making the cards became very nice with us. The young fellow I had started by saying "When in Rome do as the Romans do" in English. I agreed in English and then hurt his ears with my defective Spanish. He didn't ask any questions and just smiled and said "Good. Thanks." (in English). From then on he worked silently and quickly to process me. Just try a little Spanish with them and sign when they point to a line for "firma". Watch the folks ahead of you to see the process. They would not let our helper in because they thought that he was being paid by us as a translator. He wasn't. He was just helping us. He did help us to fill out our initial forms and that seemed to upset the woman who greeted us. She told him to leave.

Actually, it wasn't an unpleasant experience. Follow up with lunch at a nice Guiadalajara restaurant and the day will be perfect!

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Wow, congrats on getting the INAPAM card and thanks for sharing.

We went 3 or 4 times to the DIF office in Chapala, and never got a card. Next time we'll try that early morning routine!

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