Sony has told Kotaku that there will not be a North American version of the UMD Passport program, which would allow PlayStation Vita users to transfer their PSP discs to the upcoming handheld.
Sony debuted the UMD Passport program in Japan last December alongside the release of the Vita. Japanese gamers can insert their game discs into their PSPs, register them on their PlayStation Network accounts, and pay a small fee to re-download their games on the Vita.
Unless Sony changes its mind or announces some sort of alternative option, North American PSP owners will have no way to play their UMDs on the Vita, though they will be able to access any PSP games they purchased digitally.
I've asked Sony why it won't bring the UMD Passport program to North American customers and will update with any further news or explanation.
Sony will release the PlayStation Vita in the U.S. on February 22. Look out for Kotaku's review in the coming weeks.