How to switch your PS Vita to a US account (or any other country)

One of the most annoying things about globalization is that the only ones really benefiting it are the corporations, and not really the customers. Sony can get all their PS Vitas manufactured for a very low price in some factory in China, but then resell it to you at a price that varies depending on where you live. The same is true for video games and pretty much every cultural product today. This is even more infuriating when it comes to digital products, when the distribution costs are practically nonexistent, and you know that the cost difference goes directly in the margin.

This is one of the reasons you might want to create a US PSN account. In the land of the free, (legit) cultural products are notoriously cheaper than in the rest of the world, thanks to a healthy competition taking the prices down.

You might have other reasons to want to look at the US market: maybe, like me, you live in a foreign country and don’t really want to pay for games that are localized in a language you don’t speak fluently. Or maybe you just don’t like the games/movies selection in your country (again, a very true statement for foreigners like me). Maybe there’s that one specific game you’d like to get on your Vita, that is not available in your country.

For more details, you can look at this article I wrote where I describe how PSN Games are 50% more expensive in Europe, and why and how I switched definitely to a US PSN account. In that article I explain how you can easily buy PSN Credit at face value even though you don’t live in the US, how to access Netflix, etc…

Sadly, Sony have made it relatively difficult to switch your account’s locale on the Vita. Unlike the PS3, where each account can be tied to a specific country, the Vita allows you to only have one account, and will be pretty tough when it comes to switching it. You’ll basically have to do a factory reset AND format your memory stick (or count on one memory stick per account). Still, in some cases, it might be worth it.

So how do you proceed to switch your Vita from one account to an other? The following video shows you the steps. For those who don’t like to watch a boring youtube video, I’ve summarized the steps at the bottom of this article

  •  The first step is to “restore your system” (Settings > Format > Restore the PS Vita system). This will, among other things, deactivate your vita, and is the same thing you would do if you wanted to “clean up” your vita before selling it to someone else.
  • The Vita will then reboot. At this point, the “trick” is to be sure to select the “right” country at the initial set up, and create a PSN account for that country if you don’t already own one.
  • since all your settings have been erased, you’ll have to enter your Wifi settings again, and also watch the boring introduction Vita video. Yes, Sony clearly made the Vita in a way that switching accounts would be painful
  • The last step is to format your memory card (the Vita should directly ask you to do it. If not, you can access that feature in in Settings > Format). Memory cards on the Vita are tied to the account that formatted them. This means that you either have to have one memory stick per account, or you have to format your memory stick every time you switch account.

That’s it, you can now access the US PSN Store. Check here our tutorial on how you can buy PSN Credit for the US Store even when you don’t live in the US

One note: some unconfirmed rumors say that switching accounts frequently on a PS Vita can get it “locked” out of the PSN (similar to a hardware ban) and require you to call Sony’s customer service to unlock the device. I have yet to see this happen to me, but then again I’ve switched only a dozen times so far.

  1. Fougeta’s avatar

    I was planning in buying other memory card just to create an EU account to acquire some games that don’t have neither in BR or US PSN. But after that rumors i’m afraid to get blocked >.<

    Reply

  2. ZeroSkys’s avatar

    Question – If i have two memory cards can I set one memory card to one location and then set the other memory card to another location?

    So I could just switch memory cards to switch Locations.

    Reply

    1. wololo’s avatar

      Yes, that should work.

      Edit: no, sorry, I misread your question, see discussion below.

      Reply

      1. Max7731’s avatar

        Hi is that the playstation store canaidiens (amérique North) is the same as the U.S. playstation store?. thank you

        Reply

        1. SsJVasto’s avatar

          Yes, it is.

          Reply

      2. kuagelo’s avatar

        Actually, I have to disagree.

        Suppose you have a US memory card currently inside a US Vita. Then, you have an EU memory card. Once you insert the EU memory card, the US Vita will tell you that it isn’t your memory card and will reject it. You have to manually switch the location of your Vita, as described above.

        It isn’t just “memory cards from another location”, actually. Anyone else’s memory card will be rejected.

        Reply

        1. wololo’s avatar

          I think that was not the point of the question. What I meant is you dont have to format the memory card if you have one per account. You still have to do the rest of the process though, obviously.

          Edit: yeah, I clearly misread the question, my bad

          Reply

      3. kuagelo’s avatar

        From what I can tell, your complete account information (trophies included!) is stored in the Vita, while memory cards simply store which account ID / username they are tied to.

        I wish they stored the complete account info inside the MC instead. That way we can switch accounts just by swapping memory cards. But it’s bad for business (e.g. your entire family can share a Vita and simply have your own individual memory cards). The PS3 can do this because it’s expected that it will be shared by the family. The Vita is more of personal device.

        Then again I could be wrong.

        Reply

        1. ZeroSkys’s avatar

          Then why can two vita’s share the same account?

          Reply

          1. kuagelo’s avatar

            Good for business? :D Sony won’t stop you from buying two Vitas you know :D

  3. theGFTproductions’s avatar

    A thing that everyone know.
    Its stupid because if you have an US Account a a EU account and have on both games you need everytime to reset to play the other games and redownload everything.

    Btw this news wasnt needed cause i think everyone know that if you do a factory reset that everything is erased ;)

    Reply

  4. Obito’s avatar

    Wish I had a PS3 to avoid doing this xD.

    Reply

    1. Rodpin’s avatar

      Even if you buy it ith your US PSN account, you won´t be able to use on your Vita if it´s registered on other PSN… This means that if you want to play the games you already have on your other PSN account, you won´t be able.

      That´s one reason why you must think twice before changing you region.

      Reply

  5. The Z’s avatar

    About the rumor:

    It can happen, when you restore your PS Vita device, that it wont “sign out” of your PSN Account and wont deactivate itself as one of the few devices you can use your PSN Account with, but that is actually not a problem, unless you want to sell the PS Vita!

    Even if it does not remove itself from your PSN Account, it wont take a second slot of your 2 mobile devices, PSP and Vita, (or 3 console devices, PS3/4), if the account and the device are the same. So its really just a problem, if it isnt your device, or if you intend to sell it. Same applies for the account. If you share an account or sell it, be SURE to remove (deactivate) every device to free up the slots.

    Nothing is more frustating than a PSN Account / Sony device, which you cant use with your Device / Account.

    I hope this clarifies the rumor about the “blocked” slot.

    Reply

  6. EJ’s avatar

    This was so much easier before. I don’t even bother now.

    Reply

  7. 九月’s avatar

    ps vita破解psp模式还没有进展吗

    Reply

  8. hahah’s avatar

    has ninjA started

    Reply

  9. CycloneFox’s avatar

    You can skip step 3, if you remove the memory card when the video starts to play.
    The vita will say “memory card was removed. system will restart”. Put in you new memory card (wich is formatted or should be formattet for the other) region and click on ok. The system restarts once more but it goes faster as you skip the introduction video.

    Reply

    1. Death_489’s avatar

      Step 3 comes with step 1 for me , i only watch the video and put the account in the end..

      Reply

  10. stavrosomo’s avatar

    First of all i would like to thank wololo for the guide and also Qwikrazor87 for the exploit.

    I have got a problem when it comes to the point where i have to either log in or register. It does not actually gives me any choice to register rather than logging in. Can you please help me? Thanks!!

    Reply

    1. huntenrich’s avatar

      Eu can download it from the PlayStation Store (PS3) and copy it over to the vita afterwards no need for us account

      Reply

      1. stavrosomo’s avatar

        Thanks huntenrich for the answer.

        Is there any guide shows how can do this process?

        Reply

  11. SloXreS’s avatar

    When you creating your US account, i recommend you to set your state to Alaska, so you will not pay any TAX over the price of the game(s).

    Reply

    1. leiuqexe’s avatar

      hi sloxres hehe

      Reply

  12. Fran’s avatar

    I switched accounts but when i would like to go back to my previous account would that delete all my data that i have on the first memory card ??? I didnt back up anything from the first card and i am afraid to lose all my save data and video clips when i plug it back … Somebody have experience with this ??? Thanks

    Reply

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