The Evolution of the Travel Visa

The slow death of the visa is naturally for the best in our ever globalising world. But one minor casualty is that the visa -- as a physical object -- has become something of a dying art. Visas were traditionally meant to serve several purposes. They had to easily communicate necessary information to authorities, such as validity and the terms of stay. They were often designed to prevent easy forgery. And they were occasionally used to convey aspects of a country's national character through visual symbolism and imagery. For all these reasons, the visa, in its brief heyday, was (like the modern airline baggage tag) a little-appreciated masterpiece of modern design.