Business processes have become one of the key assets of organization, since these processes allow them to discover and control what occurs in their environments, with information systems automating most of an organization's processes. Unfortunately, and as a result of uncontrolled maintenance, information systems age over time until it is necessary to replace them with new and modernized systems. However, while systems are aging, meaningful business knowledge that is not present in any of the organization's other assets gradually becomes embedded in them. The preservation of this knowledge through the recovery of the underlying business processes is, therefore, a critical problem. This paper provides, as a solution to the aforementioned problem, a model-driven procedure for recovering business processes from legacy information systems. The procedure proposes a set of models at different abstraction levels, along with the model transformations between them. The paper also provides a supporting tool, which facilitates its adoption. Moreover, a real-life case study concerning an e-government system applies the proposed recovery procedure to validate its effectiveness and efficiency. The case study was carried out by following a formal protocol to improve its rigor and replicability. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.