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Vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) with a well-defined and predictable polarization of the emitted light are sought for a number of applications. In this paper, we show that one can define and stabilize the polarization of single- and multimode oxide-confined VCSELs with a monolithically integrated dielectric surface grating. In recent years, we have developed a three-dimensional, fully vectorial model for VCSELs, which proved to nicely reproduce the experimental results of quite complex structures, such as noncircular devices and phase-coupled VCSEL arrays. This software allows for the first time to analyze the effects of a dielectric grating in the output facet cap layer and its capability to fix the polarization of the emitted light. It is here employed as a design tool, yielding excellent agreement with the experimental data. Since the simulations predict the polarization behavior to be sensitively dependent on the grating parameters, hundreds of VCSELs with 99 different parameter sets, two grating orientations and active diameters of 4 and 7 μm have been analyzed. Even VCSELs with eight or more coexisting modes turned out to be linearly polarized with an orthogonal polarization suppression ratio in excess of 15 dB. Theoretical and experimental emission far-fields are compared, and it is shown that diffraction side lobes can be prevented with properly chosen grating parameters which simultaneously ensure full polarization stability.