Though almost half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and travel restrictions are being lifted, Americans’ long-awaited hopes of vacationing abroad may be put on pause for a while longer -- this time, by the U.S. Passport Acceptance Agency.

An official on Wednesday said the State Department currently has a backlog of more than 1 million passport applications. Travelers may now have to wait up to 18 weeks to receive their new or renewed passport, a surprising frustration for many Americans who may not get to leave the country until months into the fall. 

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services Rachel Arndt, said at a briefing that the backlog is between 1.5 million to 2 million passport applications, and an increase in staffing will not immediately resolve the delays.

“That is somewhat higher than what we would normally expect to see,” she said, adding that the department is “ramping up” its staffing but it will not be enough to immediately resolve the delays in processing time.

The department’s estimated turnaround times are 18 weeks for a standard passport application and 12 weeks for an expedited application. Before the pandemic, the turnaround was six to eight weeks and two to three weeks respectively, according to CNN.

Arndt warned Americans that if they are planning to travel overseas and currently do not have passports, they should consider making alternative plans.