The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from differentiated cells following forced expression of Oct4, Klf4, Sox2 and c-Myc (OKSM) is slow and inefficient, suggesting that transcription factors have to overcome somatic barriers that resist cell fate change. Here, we performed an ubiased serial shRNA enrichment screen to identify novel repressors of somatic cell reprogramming into iPSCs. This effort uncovered the sumoylation effector protein Sumo2 as one of the strongest roadblocks to iPSC formation. Depletion of Sumo2 both enhances and accelerates reprogramming, yielding transgene-independent, chimera-competent iPSCs after as little as 36 hours of OKSM expression. We further show that the Sumo2 pathway acts independently of exogenous c-Myc expression and in parallel with small molecule enhancers of reprogramming. Critically, suppression of SUMO2 also promotes the generation of human iPSCs. Together, our results reveal sumoylation as a crucial post-transcriptional mechanism that resists the acquisition of pluripotency from fibroblasts using defined factors.