While EU citizens enjoy the freedom of travelling within the
Schengen Area, Third Country nationals have to apply for a visa before going to an EU member-state. When a nation decides whether citizens of this or that country have to apply for a visa to
enter it, it considers a range of factors.
Economically weak countries are basically given no privilege as, rightly or not, there is an assumption that they go not by tourist but by economic motives.
"Screening" before the entry, in terms of visa application, can also be justified by safety considerations (international terrorism, organized crime).
Another simple and logical reason for introducing a visa regime for a particular country is quite obvious: when this particular country also requires an entry visa. In this case it is often about the national self-confidence which insists upon an entry visa for the other country.
Asymmetrical visa regime
Some states decided, to introduce an asymmetrical visa regime,
especially those well-anchored in mass tourism. This means that a particular country can be visited by tourists from other countries without any special procedures while nationals of this country
still need a visa to enter tourists' countries. Examples of such visa policies can be found especially often in Africa and South Asia.
Harm for tourism
The time and additional financial costs may deter many potential travelers. In terms of applying for a Schengen visa or a visa to other western countries, the time and costs can be also accompanied by the uncertainty that the visa will be denied because of "a reasonable doubt whether the applicant is willing to return". As far as spontaneous or self-guided trips are concerned, there can also raise problems, since often an exact arrival destination has to be indicated.
Which passport is a winner?
According to a survey of the travel search engine "goeuro", it is in Sweden where going to the passport office is the most worthwhile. Swedes pay only EUR 37 for a passport which brings them to 174 countries without any entry visa. The Germans can enjoy the "Bronze-passport"- for the desired travel document with the same number of visa-free destinations they have to pay significantly more (EUR 59,-).
Nevertheless, leadership in the passport ranking does not help if the next destination is situated beyond the numerous visa-free countries. Then it's high time to visit embassies and overcome bureaucracy tricks of all kinds.