This is a common English expression we use when we talk about dealing with bureaucracy and government organisations.
Quite often there will be a lot of paperwork to do.
The meaning of this expression is – Bureaucracy or bureaucratic paperwork.
If you have to deal with the government you will often find barriers that stop you from doing what you want to do.
It’s hard to open a business in Spain. There is so much red tape.
It’s hard to avoid the red tape if you want to open a small business.
Here’s another English expression