Optimized fabrication of submicron-sized features in gallium nitride (GaN) with the use of inductively coupled plasma (ICP) dry etching, based on SiCl4/Cl-2/Ar gas mixture, is presented. Dense periodic patterns, i.e., 400-nm-period gratings, were transferred into a gallium nitride waveguide under different etching conditions. ICP power, radiofrequency (RF) power, chamber pressure, and Ar/Cl-2 gas mixing ratio were altered during the experiment. Depths of fabricated grating couplers up to 670 nm were achieved. The most suitable etching conditions are discussed with the assessment based on etching selectivity, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observation of grating tooth slope, hard-mask erosion process, and etched surface morphology.