Long-wavelength VCSELs with emission wavelengths beyond 1.3 μm have seen a remarkable progress over the last decade. This success has been accomplished by using highly advanced device concepts which effectively overcome the fundamental technological drawbacks related with long-wavelength VCSELs such as inferior thermal properties and allow for the realization of lasers with striking device performance. In this presentation, we will give an overview on the state of the technology for long-wavelength VCSELs in conjunction with their opportunities in applications for optical sensing. While VCSELs based on InP are limited to maximum emission wavelengths around 2.3 μm, even longer wavelengths up to the mid-infrared range beyond 3 μm can be achieved with VCSELs based on GaSb. For near-infrared InP-based VCSELs, the output characteristics include sub-mA threshold currents, up to several milliwatts of singlemode output power and ultralow power consumption. New concepts for widely tunable VCSELs with tuning ranges up to 100 nm independent from the material system for the active region are also presented. Today, optical sensing by Tunable Diode Laser Spectroscopy is a fast emerging market. Gas sensing systems are used for a wide range of applications such as industrial process control, environmental monitoring and safety applications. With their inherent and compared to other laser types superior properties including enhanced current tuning rates, wavelength tuning ranges, modulation frequencies and power consumption, long-wavelength VCSELs are regarded as key components for TDLS applications.