About a month ago it was revealed through a FAQ that the SWTOR early access would begin on December 15th, however today after BioWare announced that pre-loading was available, the FAQ has been updated with a date of December 13th, two days earlier!
As previously stated by BioWare, early access is dependent on when you redeemed your pre-order access code, the sooner the better. There’s no information on the FAQ about how soon players can access the game, however if you check your SWTOR account, it should shows you your early access date.
Early Game Access will begin on December 13th, 2011 , 7:00AM EST (Pacific: December 13th, 4:00AM PST; European: December 13th, 12:00PM GMT, 1:00PM CET), seven days prior to the official launch ofStar Wars: The Old Republic. The length of your Early Game Access period will vary depending on the order in which you redeemed your Pre-Order Code. The speed of your download of the Game may also affect when you start playing.