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In this paper, we report on experimental and theoretical investigation on the nonlinear dynamics of the two orthogonal linearly polarized fundamental transverse modes of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) under sinusoidal current modulation. Irregular pulses of the power of individual polarizations are measured with a period equal to twice the modulation period. In contrast with individual polarizations, total power displays regular pulsing at twice the modulation period. The variability of pulse streams is characterized by using residence times distributions. We show that the residence time distributions for individual linear polarizations display an exponential decay for large values of that time. Those results are well reproduced by using a theoretical model that includes spontaneous emission fluctuations. However the previous qualitative features remain even in the absence of spontaneous emission noise. Our results therefore suggest that the irregular polarization dynamics have a deterministic origin and can be defined as deterministic chaos.