Red Tape Meaning

(idiomatic) Time-consuming regulations or bureaucratic procedures.

Example: The binding tape once used for holding important documents together.
1893, Walter Besant, The Ivory Gate, chapter II:
  At twilight in the summer there is never anybody to fear—man, woman, or cat—in the chambers and at that hour the mice come out. They do not eat parchment or foolscap or red tape, but they eat the luncheon crumbs.
  All the red tape and paperwork that goes on there prevents any progress.‎