Before getting specific about the countries that have open border systems in place, let's first discuss open borders and what this type of border control -- or lack thereof -- is all about. Open borders refer to a system that allows people to pass through borders without checks, proof of anything, or allowance to enter another country. Conversely, some countries have border walls that are believed to prevent illegal immigration, prevent smuggling, and are used when disputed borders. Sometimes, open borders are not intentional. Rather, they are in place as a result of the government not being able to afford an active border control or laws in place that restrict the enforcement of border control altogether.
Another reason behind open borders is that a current border system is not supported financially, so even though it may exist, it is not enforced well because the resources are not there. So, an open border can result from intentional laws or accidental lack of planning. The reasons behind open borders vary depending upon the country in question, but the concept of open borders stays the same. It is a lack of a successful border control system, point-blank.
There are no countries in the world that operate on a fully open border system. This would mean that people could enter and exit countries at their leisure, which sounds very convenient to tourists and anyone who wants to travel around the world without restrictions. However, this is quite a danger to quite literally everyone involved. Without checking the details, information, and intentions of people before they enter a country,
This would place the countries' residents in harm's way because it permits anyone and everyone to enter the country. If you have ever crossed the border between two countries or sovereign states before, then you have an idea of how border control works no matter where you are in the world. If you are unfamiliar with border control processes and systems, you can try to think about it as an airport. Essentially, officials ask why you are entering a country and question your motives for entering the country.
Whether you live within the country's borders or the destination is a short-term adventure, border control officials want to understand your purpose for passing through the border and into the country they protect. So, as you can imagine, a country with open borders will not have an interrogation meeting you at the border. Instead, you are free to go into the country as you please.
The region of the world known as the Schengen Area is a very good example of a group of countries with open borders between those that are considered member nations of the Schengen Area. The Schengen Area is a region in Europe that encompasses 26 nations, all of which share open borders. This way, the movement of people can take place smoothly.
The United States of America is an example of a country looking to go the opposite way. Open borders promote travel and migration, and closed borders emphasize the distinction between one country's land and others. The Trump Adiministration sought to enhance and strengthen the States' closed border, specifically by building a border wall. This would make the United States, which is already one of the most difficult countries to gain citizenship in, one of the most challenging countries to immigrate to. However, the United States of America has open borders between states within the country.
Open borders are not hard to find within countries divided into regions, states, or separate territories. The United States of America is an example of a country with open borders between all fifty states, with Hawaii and Alaska being two places that you cannot access by crossing a land border from one state into these two. This has to do with the location of Alaska and Hawaii, for they are not accessible by land. That said, if you are a citizen of the USA or someone just traveling around the United States, you are still able to visit Hawaii and Alaska because the open border system among the 50 states includes Hawaii and Alaska.
Other countries that have open borders within their borders include:
There are instances where you can travel between one country and another if those countries have agreements in place between one another that permits this sort of open border system. The European Union is, as mentioned, a region that has open borders among its countries. Still, Switzerland and the EU also have an agreement that lets people move freely between the EU and Switzerland.
A policy that promotes open borders comes across as a lack of border control in a dangerous way, given the nature of little to no rules over many people. The thought behind closed borders is that it keeps areas safer and more controlled, and open borders are more to promote travel and movement across boundaries.
The European Union is another area of the world that has open borders. It's hard to explicitly say that a country has absolutely no border control because some rules and laws specify to whom the open border policies apply. Even with the Schengen Area and European Union, there are restrictions regarding who can and cannot move around freely.
For example, with the Schengen Area, people who do not have permanent residence in one of the twenty-six nations must have a Schengen-specific visa that permits them to roam freely. The visa is not impossible to obtain, but like any official document, there is an application process, a waiting period, and an expiration date, so anyone with a Schengen Area visa is not forever free from border restrictions. As you can see, open borders are not open to everyone in every nation, but within many countries, you can freely roam around the country's various states and territories as you wish.