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Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Eid prayers

The first day of Eid Al Fitr will be Sunday, June 25, officials from Qatar’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) have just announced.

Awqaf’s moon sighting committee met at their Dafna headquarters tonight to receive witness testimony and make their decision.

The moon signifies the end of Ramadan and the start of the new month, which means that the Eid holidays officially begin tomorrow.

Video still

Awqaf announces Eid

Eid prayer will be held at 319 mosques around the country at 5:00am on Sunday. Awqaf has released a list of the prayer spaces in Arabic.

For a comprehensive guide to all the activities and events planned around town starting tomorrow, check out our Eid guide here.

What are your plans for the holiday? Thoughts?

MOI

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

For the first time, citizens of Russia, China, South Africa, Lebanon, Indonesia and dozens of other countries will be able to purchase visas on arrival in Qatar.

The move comes as Qatar seeks to boost tourism amid a boycott from some of its most frequent visitors, who hail from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

According to a circular from Qatar Airways issued to employees this week, the Ministry of Interior has approved the entry of more than 30 new nationalities with immediate effect, based on the following conditions:

  • Their passports are valid for six months or more;
  • Visitors have a return/onward ticket; and
  • They have a hotel booking and $1,500 in cash or credit card.

Previously, Qatar had an agreement with only around three dozen nations and territories to provide visa on arrival services. A one-month stay costs QR100 (roughly $30).

Ministry of Interior

Previous list of visa on arrival nationalities

These include the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia, as well as European and East Asian countries.

New countries

Last year, Qatar authorities said they were working to add China and Russia to the list, as well as Indians.

But according to the recent Qatar Airways circular, only Indians who meet certain conditions are eligible for visa on arrival, such as those with a permanent UK address or US green card.

Qatar Airways

Additional list of visa on arrival nationalities.

Other nationalities that can now enter Qatar without applying in advance for a one-month visa include several South American countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Chile and eastern European nations like Croatia, Latvia and Estonia.

The loosened restrictions come after Qatar has already made four-day transit visas free and available to Qatar Airways passengers transiting through the country, regardless of nationality.

Online visa service

The full list of 71 nationalities that are eligible for visa on arrival is available on a new visa application website unveiled by Qatar Airways yesterday.

The airline in conjunction with the Qatar Tourism Authority said residents from any country can now apply for tourist visas though the portal, which is currently in a pilot phase.

Hamad International Airport

Sanjiban Ghosh/Flickr

Hamad International Airport

This saves time as the process no longer has to go through hotels or tour operators.

Passengers will need passport scans, personal photographs, their airline ticket information and the address they will be staying at when in Qatar to submit their applications.

It usually take about 48 hours to obtain visas via email. And the application can be tracked by visitors online, authorities said.

Applications will be submitted automatically for those who book with Qatar Airways.

The tourist visas cost $42 (which includes a credit card booking fee).

Thoughts?

Ashghal

New TV intersection

Motorists, take note: the busy TV Roundabout will be closed to all traffic until 4pm this afternoon, Ashghal has announced.

This is so the public works authority can complete phase 1 of the roundabout’s transformation into a signal-controlled intersection.

The junction closed yesterday afternoon for the completion works. But starting tonight, three lanes will be open for traffic in all directions.

Ashghal will then get started on the second and last phase, which entails completing additional turn lanes, as well as widening the roads to four lanes in all directions.

This is expected to be completed by Eid Al Adha in early September, the authority said.

Bye bye roundabouts

TV Roundabout, which is so named because it sits at the corner of Al Jazeera Media Network’s headquarters, is one of the last and most congested junctions to be tackled by Ashghal.

Over the past few years, the public works authority has already converted the roundabouts near it, including Oryx, Burger King, Lejbailat and Dahl Al Hammam, into signalized intersections.

Umer Shabib

Demolition of Sports Roundabout

Sports Roundabout in Al Sadd is also currently being razed to make way for another signalized intersection.

Thoughts?