Needing a visa to travel to another country is common place now amongst the vast majority of countries around the world. Visas help a country keep track of who is coming in and going out of the country. Landing cards that must be filled in on arrival to a country also help to show when you actually used your visa (as a visa is merely an invitation to visit and most are valid for entry within a month) and when you will leave the country. Landing cards also help to get important census data such as the type of people going into and out of a country.
Security at airports has also increased massively over the past decade making it more difficult to make that last minute flight, you have to arrive at the airport in plenty of time. Furthermore, restrictions on what can be taken on board and some flights have even banned laptops nowadays. I appreciate that this is a necessary evil of modern travel but if you add this up to the hassle of getting visas in the first place it makes anyone want to put off any kind of long term travel.
The problem I have is that criminals can easily get around this system. Fake passports are easily obtainable if you have the right resources and contacts, likewise visas can be gained in the same manner. If someone really has a passion to enter a country, I think there is little the authorities can actually do to stop them. So my question remains, are we putting too much unnecessary red tape on the average law abiding citizen?
What I would say is authorities need to make it easier for normal average people to get visas and the necessary documentation to travel abroad. For some developing countries you need to prove you have money for your trip, you need to show your bank account details and an outward bound ticket for your next destination. Now this seems fine, but if you are backpacking around the world often you don’t make plans 30 or 60 days in advance. Getting extensions once in the country is also tiresome and being kept waiting around, virtually being treated like a criminal is not giving a good impression of a country.
If criminals really want to enter a country, they will find a way. Unnecessary red tape is just putting off people who spend vast amounts of money from visiting countries. I am certainly thinking twice about visiting certain countries just because of the sheer hassle of getting a visa to travel there. I would have thought with competition for tourists at an all-time high, they would be making life easier to travel to their countries.