People frequently ask dive centers and instructors, “Do scuba certifications expire?”

Of course, it’s a valid question for courses like PADI Open Water Diver, PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, and PADI Rescue Diver. Learning to dive usually involves a financial and time commitment. Understandably, aspiring underwater adventurers want to know how long their certification will last.

So, do scuba certifications expire? No, they do not. Your PADI scuba certification is for life! However, as well as keeping your dive skills up to date, you might want to replace your certification card from time to time. Keep reading to learn how you can do both.

A diver on a coral reef is keeping their skills refreshed after learning the answer to "Do scuba certifications expire?"

Keep Diving

Although you are PADI certified for life, diving regularly to keep your skills and knowledge fresh is strongly recommended. You’ll want to aim to dive frequently and avoid six to 12 months or longer periods without diving. If you haven’t dived recently, a scuba refresher program, such as PADI ReActivate™, will help you jump back into the water with confidence.

What is PADI ReActivate?

PADI ReActivate is a comprehensive refresher program that will remind you of the core principles and skills from the PADI Open Water Diver course. It involves two components: a knowledge review and an optional, in-water session.

You can complete the knowledge review easily online from a computer or your mobile device with PADI eLearning®. It takes around two to three hours to complete.

Although it’s optional, completing an in-water session with an instructor is worthwhile, especially if it’s been longer since your last dive or if you have less than 20 lifetime dives. Although the PADI ReActivate eLearning is interactive and will provide you with videos of how to complete basic dive skills, it’s not the same as actually doing it for yourself. With your instructor, you’ll assemble your gear and practice vital skills, including buoyancy control and emergency out-of-air procedures. Check out this video of PADI ReActivate and the refresher experience.

Is PADI ReActivate required? No, but it’s always better to be over-prepared rather than under-prepared when diving. Plus, dive shops love to see a recent ReActivated date on your record, too!

Join PADI Club

Another way to keep diving is by joining PADI Club™, the world’s largest community of ocean lovers. You’ll be able to access exclusive benefits (from dive trips to course discounts) and be part of a community of dive buddies to join when exploring and protecting our blue planet. What’s more, the PADI ReActivate eLearning is free with a PADI Club membership!

Learn more about how PADI Club helps you maintain your diver status.

A diver stands on a rocky shore overlooking the ocean and wonders "How long is a PADI license valid after a medical change?"

What if My Circumstances Change?

Do scuba certifications expire if your circumstances change, such as developing a health issue or getting married? No, they don’t. However, there may be some actions you need to take before getting back into the water or to ensure your certification card is up to date.

Medical Changes

Although your card is still valid, you should check with an appropriate physician about whether a medical change affects your fitness to dive. You’ll learn about factors that affect your ability to dive during your PADI Open Water Diver course. Additionally, in some regions, you may need to show a certificate from a doctor upon enrolling in the course.

Name Changes

If you need to update the legal name on your certification card, you can submit a request online or speak to your local PADI Office to update your diver record. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to order a replacement card with your new name.

Do Junior Scuba Certifications Expire?

PADI Junior certifications don’t expire. Instead, they automatically turn into a standard adult certification once you turn 15 years old*. After that, you can get a new PADI card without the ‘Junior’ designation by ordering a replacement PADI certification card in the usual way.

*The exception is PADI Junior Divemaster, which requires a little extra training before you can become a full PADI Divemaster after turning 18 years old.

A diver holds up their replacement PADI Open Water Diver card after finding out "How long do scuba certifications last?"

Do Scuba Certifications Expire if I’ve Lost My Certification Card?

Don’t worry! We understand that certification cards can get lost and need to be replaced. The great news is that by providing your name (as it appeared on your old card) and date of birth, you can retrieve your certification record and obtain a replacement card. Here are your replacement options:

Electronic Cards

A PADI eCard™ is a great way to ensure you don’t misplace your dive card again, as you can keep it with you on your mobile device. If you completed your certification after 10 January 2023, then you’ll already have an eCard that you can access via the free PADI App™ and Otherwise, you can purchase a replacement eCard online. Another plus point is that you don’t need to wait for the mailman, because you can download eCards immediately after making your purchase!

Physical Cards

If preferred, you can also order physical certification cards online. A physical card has some advantages. Suppose you are traveling to a remote region where getting online can be “spotty.” In that case, a physical card removes the need for a WiFi connection – and, unlike your phone, PADI’s physical cards are waterproof!

Three PADI cards posed on a sandy beach which make great replacements since there is no scuba certification expiration date

Limited Edition Cards

Support your favorite cause with a Limited Edition certification card! Choose from PADI AWARE Foundation™ designs (so you can be proud to be part of conservation efforts to protect our blue planet) and wildlife images by award-winning photographers with important messages to share with the world. In addition, PADI Club members get one free eCard every year from three exclusive, member-only designs.


Unsure which option to choose? You can also purchase a certification card bundle and receive the benefits of both types at a discounted price. Fun fact: 67% of divers surveyed have both an eCard and a physical card.

Which design will you pick? There are beautiful choices to help you make a statement, from orcas and hammerheads to magical cenotes. So, if you’ve lost or misplaced your card, get your PADI card replacement online today!

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