32 CFR 155.3 - Definitions.
(a) Applicant. Any U.S. citizen who holds or requires a security clearance or any immigrant alien who holds or requires a limited access authorization for access to classified information needed in connection with his or her employment in the private sector; any U.S. citizen who is a direct-hire employee or selectee for a position with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and who holds or requires NATO certificates of security clearance or security assurances for access to U.S. or foreign classified information; or any U.S. citizen nominated by the Red Cross or United Service Organizations for assignment with the Military Services overseas. The term “applicant” does not apply to those U.S. citizens who are seconded to NATO by U.S. Departments and Agencies or to U.S. citizens recruited through such Agencies in response to a request from NATO.
(b) Clearance Decision. A decision made in accordance with this part concerning whether it is clearly consistent with the national interest to grant an applicant a security clearance for access to Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret information. A favorable clearance decision establishes eligibility of the applicant to be granted a security clearance for access at the level governed by the documented need for such access, and the type of investigation specified for that level in 32 CFR part 154. An unfavorable clearance decision denies any application for a security clearance and revokes any existing security clearance, thereby preventing access to classified information at any level and the retention of any existing security clearance.